Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory led by senior scientist Rashi Iyer developed a desktop human body known as ATHENA, or the Advanced Tissue-engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer, which aims to provide an alternative to drug testing on animals. ATHENA is currently made of four miniature human organ constructs – liver, heart, lung and kidney, each the size of a smartphone screen. The ultimate goal of this multi-institutional project is to create a fully functional system that mimics the human physiological environment
Coupled with sensitive mass spectrometry technologies, ATHENA could eventually be used as an in-vitro model for drugs and toxicity analysis, allowing researchers to not only perform drug testing on one specific organ, but also to screen the effect of drugs on other organs simultaneously.
The successful integration of the organ constructs with essential connection by a tubing infrastructure similar to the way blood vessels connect organs in the human body later would be a breakthrough in the medical field, improving the chances of clinical trial success and more accurate drug screening as well as in the various studies of pharmacology.
Source: Los Alamos National Lab