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Spicy Spotlight | Emulate, Inc

30 Jun Spicy Spotlight | Emulate, Inc

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medical

Image Courtesy of businesswire.com

The Medical Start-Up That Has Everyone Talking:

Boston and Cambridge are the places to be for medical technology and development. That’s why we’re not surprised that yet another fantastic start-up from our area is on track to change the field forever.

Founded in 2013, Emulate is a company that uses Organ-on-Chip technology to best simulate a living human body. Rather than use cells in a culture, which lack precision and control, or animal testing, which varies from humans and has ethical obstacles, Organs-on-Chips are able to replicate the human environment along with all the outside forces that affect it.

Emulate has already developed lung, liver, intestine, and skin Organ-Chips, and they are working on equivalents for the kidneys, heart, brain, and more.

medical

Image Courtesy of emulatebio.com

The Organ-Chips, micro-engineered from transparent polymers, contain thin, flowing pathways that are lined with real human cells. The chip’s design is part of how Emulate replicates the body so well. The flowing pathways imitate blood flow, and the flexible chip can duplicate dynamic processes like peristalsis, the constriction and relaxation of intestinal muscles to move materials through the digestive system.

The Organ-Chips can also simulate the extracellular matrix (what lies around the cell in your body), tissue-on-tissue contact points, mechanical forces like breathing, immune cells and blood components, and the biochemical surroundings of tissues. No other testing method can reproduce all of these aspects like Emulate’s chips can, which is why this Cambridge-based company really is at the forefront of their field.

medical

Image Courtesy of emulatebio.com

Why it Matters:

As cool as the actual chips and technology are, the most exciting parts of Emulate’s work are the implications. Asthma conditions and a viral infection of the lungs have already been replicated using Emulate’s chips (a Sendai Virus infection on a chip is shown above). Since human biology and disease states can be represented so accurately by these devices, all kinds of experiments and trials will be much more valid and treatments can be designed much easier. In fact, Emulate is working to design chips with your own body’s tissues, using induced pluripotent stem cells, so personalized treatments could be designed around an actual, functioning duplicate of your body’s tissues.

It’s exciting to think about the potential medical solutions that Organ-on-Chip technology will lead to. Some of the developments are already coming along; Emulate just received a $2 million dollar grant to use their tech on the International Space Station. The chips will be used to investigate the effects of space travel on the human brain. We can’t wait to see the incredible developments Emulate’s technology will lead to next.

Want more local business highlights? Check out last week’s Spicy Spotlight on the game platform that turned into the next great mobile payment service!

 

 

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