BOSTON, Dec. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Emulate, Inc., a leading provider of advanced in vitro models, today announced that its Alveolus Lung-Chip is being used by the U.S. Army to understand how the SARS-CoV-2 virus interacts with lung cells. With funding from the FY20 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Chemical Biological Center are using Emulate Lung-Chips to observe intracellular interactions and better understand the role of proteins within lung cells on disease processes.
Emulate Lung-Chip models recreate key aspects of pulmonary physiology by incorporating multiple primary cell types in distinct epithelial and vascular channels in a lung-specific dynamic microenvironment which can mimic tissue-to-tissue interactions, extracellular matrix, immune cell components and mechanical forces. They are ideal for studies looking at viral infection and pathogenesis and efficacy testing.
"In the past, the closest researchers could get to something like this was by introducing a virus into animals and then dissect them. With this, there is no need for animals in performing toxicological research," said Dan Angelini, Ph.D., a Center research biologist, in an Army press release. "For example, we can observe which specific lung cells engaged the virus and allowed it to cross the cell membrane. We can then track the actions of the virus inside the infected cell both recording the virus' mechanisms of pathogenesis and the timing of the damage it causes."
The Alveolus Lung-Chip combines primary human alveolar epithelial cells with primary human microvascular lung endothelial cells. Cells are seeded onto the chips which have been coated with extracellular matrix. A mechanical strain is applied and then air is introduced into the epithelial cell channel. This creates a unique microenvironment which maintains phenotype and functionality of the endothelial and epithelial cells enabling scientists to develop more representative understandings of disease processes and drug responses. These characteristics make it an ideal model for studying the underlying mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 viral infection.
"Historically technologies for in vitro modelling have been slow to innovate, contributing to a high failure rate in drug development and a limited understanding of human physiological response," said Jim Corbett, CEO of Emulate, Inc. "Advanced in vitro models, such as Organ-Chips from Emulate, are showcasing more predictive outcomes than 2D modeling and animal studies. We are excited the Army is embracing these new technological advances and applying them toward understanding SARS-CoV-2 viral infection and taking critical steps to impact this global health crisis."
The Lung-Chip is part of a complete Human Emulation System® from Emulate, which includes chips, instrumentation and hardware. For more information, visit https://www.emulatebio.com/blog/webinar-lung-chip-viral-infection-covid-19
About Emulate, Inc.
Emulate Inc. is a privately held company that creates advanced in vitro models for understanding how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect human health. Our lab-ready Human Emulation System® includes three components: Zoë® Culture Module, Organ-Chips, and analytical software applications. The platform provides a window into the inner workings of human biology and disease—offering researchers a new technology designed to predict human response with greater precision and detail than conventional cell culture or animal-based experimental testing. Each of Emulate's proprietary Organ-Chips—including the liver, intestine, and kidney—contains tiny hollow channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells and tissues and is approximately the size of an AA battery. An Organ-Chip is a living, microengineered environment that recreates the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience within the human body. Our founding team pioneered the Organs-on-Chips technology at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Emulate holds the worldwide exclusive license from Harvard University to a robust and broad intellectual property portfolio for the Organs-on-Chips technology and related systems. For more information, please visit emulatebio.com.