The integrated structures of the tiny bio-chips that scientists at the Technical University of Vienna (TU Wien) are using to investigate wound healing are basically a fully-fledged laboratory. They provide everything that is needed to collect relevant measurement data and take care of tasks normally performed by highly trained lab staff. The end result is that medical examination results should be available faster and at a lower cost, thereby taking an important step towards personalized medicine.
"In medicine, we often rely on prognoses based on average values," explains Prof. Peter Ertl from the Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics at TU Wien. "However, what would really make a difference is personalized approaches that take each individual's specific physical and molecular characteristics into account." At present, valuable findings are usually generated by taking cells from a person for diagnosis, multiplying them in a conventional cell culture and only then analyzing them. However, researchers from the CellChipGroup at TU Wien have now developed miniaturized systems that not only make this process easier and cheaper, but also deliver results that are more physiologically accurate. Using tiny channels, known as microfluidics, the researchers in Vienna can imitate the most important biological conditions such as temperature, pressure and flow rates to create as realistic an environment as possible for the cells living on the chip. These cells can then be used to simulate mechanical loads and injuries that can be adjusted on the chip in a way that is close to nature using integrated actuators. All in all, it is a revolutionary technology that could offer scientists a reliable and precise means of studying healing processes. The team from Vienna is at LABVOLUTION 2017 in Hannover to provide a detailed breakdown of its miniaturized wound healing system that can be used to derive individualized findings about the efficacy and/or side-effects of medicines.