MIMETAS collaborator Lawrence Vernetti in Nature News

MIMETAS collaborator Lawrence Vernetti in Nature News

Miniature liver on a chip could boost US food safety

MIMETAS collaborator Lawrence Vernetti in Nature News

Dr. Lawrence Vernetti, who collaborates with MIMETAS in an SBIR program entitled "Development and Evaluation of the HepaPlate iPS: a high-throughput organ-on-a-chip iPS Hepatotoxicity Screening Platform" was mentioned in an April 12, 2017 Nature News article by Sara Reardon. 

“I'm excited that people are willing to try this new technology out,” says Lawrence Vernetti, a toxicologist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, who is developing a different kind of liver-on-a-chip [edit: in collaboration with MIMETAS]. Some aspects of animal metabolism are markedly different from humans: chocolate, for instance, is toxic to dogs. Although animals are usually good models for predicting toxicity issues in humans, he says, they are not fool-proof. If the long-term goal is to reduce the number of animals used for testing, “we have to come up with a system where regulators in science will trust the answers that will come out of it”, Vernetti says.

Vernetti says that he is surprised by how quickly regulators have begun testing the devices, but he says that the decision is timely because of increasing pressure from the public to minimize the use of animals in research. In 2013, for instance, the European Union banned the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. “You just can’t stop testing these things — you have to give an alternative,” Vernetti says. “These human-on-chip devices might be a nice answer.”