From Technology Review: The way pharmaceutical companies test drugs is broken, and Donald Ingber has an idea for how to fix it. Scientists typically test potential pharmaceuticals on animals, but more often than not, “the predictions from animals fail when a compound is tested in humans,” says Ingber, director of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute. Performing initial tests on people, of course, is too dangerous. “Our proposed solution is to do studies with human cells,” he says, “but not just cells in a dish—cells that exhibit organ-like structures and functions.” To achieve this, Ingber and his team are developing a menagerie of microscale devices that replicate the structures and environments of actual human organs more closely than a simple culture dish.

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