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Organ-on-a-chip technologies that can transform ophthalmic drug discovery and disease modeling

: Haderspeck, Jasmin; Chuchuy, Johanna; Kustermann, Stefan; Liebau, Stefan; Loskill, Peter


Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery 14 (2019), No.1, pp.47-57
ISSN: 1746-0441
ISSN: 1746-045X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGB ()
cornea-on-a-chip; in-vitro models; microphysiological system; ocular model; ophthalmic model; organ-on-a-chip; retina-on-a-chip

Introduction: Disorders of the eye that lead to visual impairment are affecting millions of people worldwide. Nevertheless, for many of these disorders, there are still no effective treatment options available due to the lack of in vitro model systems that emulate the physiological in vivo structure and function of human eyes. Microphysiological organ-on-a-chip (OoC) technology represents a novel and powerful approach to overcome the limitations of conventional model systems and lead to a paradigm shift in ophthalmic research.
Areas covered: This review provides an overview of the various tissues of interest in ophthalmology and summarizes existing model systems, including their applications and limitations. Additionally, novel OoC systems with applications in ophthalmology are described and the advantages of these systems compared to conventional models are highlighted.
Expert opinion: The physiological relevance of the first ophthalmic OoC systems that mimic human ocular compartments, such as the cornea and retina, has been successfully demonstrated in recent years. There is a great potential for the application of these platforms for future pharmacological target identification, safety, and efficacy testing, as well as personalized medicine. Further improvements and the development of new systems are of upmost importance, especially to model complex disorders affecting several tissues.