Miniaturising of systems to replace animal testing

At RIKILT Wageningen University & Research animals tests are conducted to test substances and to answer food safety related questions. At the same time there is a high need for methods replacing these animal tests and with this purpose RIKILT has been working for some time on the development of tools that can replace specific aspects of animal tests with a focus on the gut, like absorption and gut metabolism.

It has become increasingly clear that these models have (large) limitations, mainly because they fail to simulate the organ complexity to a high degree. Currently, several organ-on-a-chip concepts are being developed through innovative combinations of microfluidics chips and bio-engineering. For food safety research, gut-on-a-chip concepts offer an added value for RIKILT and the objective of this project is to develop a gut-on-a-chip analysis system

to conduct kinetic studies for the oral exposure route. Existing gut epithelium in vitro models will be implemented in a microfluidics chip and characterized on a functional and physiological level. For detection of substances and metabolites and to evaluate their kinetics a connection will be made with analytical detection systems.

In short, with this project we aim to develop a system for oral exposure to replace or refine animal tests. By use of microfluidics technology the physiological and biological properties of the existing in vitro techniques will be improved highly what will lead to better a better correlation with the human in vivo situation, hereby strongly increasing the predictive power of these systems.