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Funded Studies

Using Organs-on-Chips to Test the Safety of New Drugs for Parkinson's Disease

Study Rationale:
Organs-on-Chips is a technology that recreates human biology in a microscopic device. In simple terms, the device comprises cells from a human organ, such as the lungs, attached to a plastic surface the size of a small matchbox. These devices can be used to predict how diseases, medicines, chemicals and foods affect human health. In this project, we aim to use an Organ-Chip device to determine the safety of several new Parkinson's disease (PD) drug candidates that previously demonstrated potential negative side effects on the lungs.

Using the Lung-Chip device, we will determine exactly how safe specific Parkinson's drugs are and try to understand why they have a negative effect on the lungs.

Study Design:
First, we will evaluate the Lung-Chip device itself to make sure that it sufficiently resembles normal lungs. We will confirm that it has the parts and mechanisms needed to test PD therapies. Next, we will determine whether the Parkinson's drugs can enter the lung cells on the chip. Finally, we will try to reproduce known side effects of the drugs in the Lung-Chip.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's disease:
Using experimental systems that accurately reproduce human biology to test new drugs could facilitate the drug discovery process. This would allow researchers to speed therapeutic development for people living with PD.

Next Steps for Development:
Using Organs-on-Chips in drug testing could eventually deliver improved therapies to people living with Parkinson's.


  • Remi Villenave, PhD

    Boston, MA United States

  • Geraldine Hamilton, PhD

    Boston, MA United States

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