June 3, 2017, 7:36 AM|CBS News contributor Dr. Tara Narula joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to discuss a new report…
Using a Unique Organ-on-a-Chip Model to Unlock Answers to Vascular Aging
Vascular aging, the progressive decline in the structure and function of blood vessels, is a complex process that contributes to various age-related diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of vascular aging is crucial for developing effective interventions and treatments.
Traditional research methods, such as animal models and cell cultures, have limitations in accurately mimicking the human vascular system and its aging process. However, recent advancements in biomedical engineering have led to the development of a unique technology called organ-on-a-chip.
What is an Organ-on-a-Chip?
An organ-on-a-chip is a microfluidic device that recreates the structure and function of human organs, including blood vessels, in a laboratory setting. It consists of a transparent chip with tiny channels lined with living human cells that mimic the physiological environment of the organ.
Organ-on-a-chip models offer several advantages over traditional research methods. They provide a more accurate representation of human physiology, allowing researchers to study the intricate interactions between different cell types and tissues. Additionally, these models can be personalized using patient-specific cells, enabling personalized medicine approaches.
Unlocking Answers to Vascular Aging
Researchers have successfully developed an organ-on-a-chip model specifically designed to study vascular aging. This model incorporates endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and other relevant cell types to recreate the complex structure of blood vessels.
By subjecting the organ-on-a-chip model to various aging-related stressors, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, researchers can observe the changes in the vascular system over time. They can analyze the functional and structural alterations, measure the expression of aging-related genes, and investigate the impact of potential interventions.
The use of organ-on-a-chip models in studying vascular aging has the potential to revolutionize the field of aging research. It allows for a more precise understanding of the underlying mechanisms and the identification of novel therapeutic targets.
Furthermore, this technology can be utilized to test the efficacy and safety of potential interventions, such as drugs or lifestyle modifications, in a controlled and personalized manner. This could significantly accelerate the development of effective treatments for age-related vascular diseases.
The unique organ-on-a-chip model provides a powerful tool for unlocking answers to vascular aging. By accurately mimicking the human vascular system, researchers can gain valuable insights into the complex processes involved in vascular aging and develop targeted interventions to improve vascular health in aging populations.