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This New Device Could Transform Clinical Trials

November 1, 2023
x min read

A team of university scientists may have unlocked a transformative breakthrough for clinical trials.

What’s happening:

  • Scientists at Northwestern University have developed a new technology that could be a breakthrough in simulating how new drugs will affect the human body
  • The device, which is called Lattice, is smaller than a shoebox and is a microfluidic device that is compromised of pumps and wells controlled by a computer

How it works:

  • The Lattice device is connected directly to a computer which controls how much simulated blood flows into each well and when it happens
  • There are eight wells in the device and each can be filled with a different organ tissue, disease or medication
  • This enables scientists to start simulating the response of a medication by testing multiple different scenarios to better understand what precisely is happening when a particular medication is dosed

Why it matters:

  • Currently there is nothing available for clinical trials in between animal testing and human clinical trials
  • Lattice could be a critical new piece of technology to help better understand clinical trial outcomes much sooner than is currently possible

Going deeper:

  • Another potential breakthrough Lattice offers is being able to store cultures for much longer periods of time, which unlocks new areas of research opportunity
  • Traditional in vitro testing only is able to keep cultures alive for a few days within a dish, whereas Lattice can allow tissues to survive for nearly a month by pumping simulated blood into them consistently

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