Using lab animals in medical science is not only an ethical issue, but the research findings often don’t match up to what happens in humans. Simulating various natural processes within microfluidic devices often a provides a more reliable, and easier to work with, laboratory technique over live animals.

Researchers at Purdue University have built a microfluidic device that will help them understand the relationship between blood clots and pancreatic tumors. Pancreatic cancer seems to lead to increased clot formation, which may be a major factor in this cancer’s ability to quickly growth and spread throughout the body. Moreover, clots make it harder for drugs to reach tumors.

The Purdue hope that the knowledge they gather with the help them and partner teams at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, to develop new therapies to address pancreatic cancer.

Their new microfluidic device has tunnels that are home to tiny pieces of live pancreatic duct tissue, positioned below a microslide. The tissue can be closely monitored and the environment changed to assess how the tissue responds to different stimuli.

It will be used with both animal tissue and diseased human samples to eventually confirm that it’s performing as desired and to begin thinking of new therapeutic approaches.

Via: Purdue…

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