New interagency collaboration to accelerate therapeutics development
The NIH in collaboration with DARPA and the FDA will work together on a groundbreaking therapeutic development initiative to advance the development of new technologies aimed at streamlining the drug development pipeline. The initiative will support the development of human microsystems, or organ “chips,” that can be used to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods, and before they are tested in humans. These microsystems will use specific cell types that reflect the biology of several different organs and tissues, and will be integrated together to model the connection between different organ systems in the human body. This integration will allow researchers to assess how drugs metabolized by one organ affect other organs or systems. It is hoped that the development of such microsystems will allow faster and more accurate measures of drug toxicology and efficacy, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with new therapeutics development. Seventeen NIH grants have recently been awarded to support this initiative. For more details about each project, please visit www.ncats.nih.gov/tissue-chip-awards2012.html.