A portable and reconfigurable multi-organ platform for drug development with onboard microfluidic flow control†
The drug development pipeline is severely limited by a lack of reliable tools for prediction of human clinical safety and efficacy profiles for compounds at the pre-clinical stage. Here we present the design and implementation of a platform technology comprising multiple human cell-based tissue models in a portable and reconfigurable format that supports individual organ function and crosstalk for periods of up to several weeks. Organ perfusion and crosstalk are enabled by a precision flow control technology based on electromagnetic actuators embedded in an arrayed format on a microfluidic platform. We demonstrate two parallel circuits of connected airway and liver modules on a platform containing 62 electromagnetic microactuators, with precise and controlled flow rates as well as functional biological metrics over a two week time course. Technical advancements enabled by this platform include the use of non-sorptive construction materials, enhanced scalability, portability, flow control, and usability relative to conventional flow control modes (such as capillary action, pressure heads, or pneumatic air lines), and a reconfigurable and modular organ model format with common fluidic port architecture. We demonstrate stable biological function for multiple pairs of airway–liver models for periods of 2 weeks in the platform, with precise control over fluid levels, temperature, flow rate and oxygenation in order to support relevant use cases involving drug toxicity, efficacy testing, and organ–organ interaction.