To accelerate the development of new therapies, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine is leading a unique project to develop a "body on a chip." The goal is to build a miniaturized system of human organs to model the body’s response to harmful agents and develop potential therapies. This approach has the potential to reduce the need for testing in animals, which is expensive, slow, and has results that aren’t always applicable to people. The project involves using human cells to create tiny organ-like structures that mimic the function of the heart, liver, lung and blood vessels. Placed on a 2-inch chip, these structures will be connected to a system of fluid channels and sensors to provide on-line monitoring of individual organs and the overall organ system. The circulating blood substitute will keep the cells alive and can be used to introduce chemical or biologic agents, as well as potential therapies, into the system. Hollow channels will automatically guide the toxins or therapies that are being evaluated from one tissue to the next and sensors will measure real-time temperature, oxygen levels, PH and other factors.