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Crohn's & Colitis
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Innovative ‘gut-on-a-chip’ technology will help better understand Crohn’s disease

Use a patient's own cells to test drugs and understand disease processes to help determine the right treatment for the right patient.

To model human health and disease, organ-on-a-chip technology mimics the human body’s organ structure, functionality and physiology in a controlled environment.

For 10 years, Hyun Jung Kim, a biomedical engineering assistant professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and assistant professor in the Department of Oncology in UT’s Dell Medical School, has been developing organs-on-chips, specifically examining inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer. In 2018, Kim led the first study to determine how an intestinal disease develops using human organ-on-a-chip technology, confirming with his “gut inflammation-on-a-chip” system that intestinal barrier disruption is the upstream initiator of gut inflammation.

“Crohn’s disease is an extraordinarily complicated disease to figure out,” said Declan Fleming, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care at the Dell Medical School who will work with Kim on this project. “We believe this research can lead to a new tool to help us address the complexity of this disease. This could lead to improved treatments or possibly even to reverse the progression of Crohn’s disease altogether.”

“There is a pressing need for more effective treatments for Crohn’s disease, and Helmsley is committed to finding more personalized options for patients,” said Garabet Yeretssian, director of Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program. “This innovative ‘gut-on-a-chip’ technology has the potential to uncover triggers of Crohn’s disease, which will lead to improved therapies and ultimately better health outcomes.”

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Posted on: May 5 2019

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