Micro-Organ Device

health medicine and biotechnology
Micro-Organ Device (MSC-TOPS-54)
Early Stage in vivo-like drug screening without animal experimentation
The NASA Johnson Space Center has developed the Micro-Organ Device (MOC) platform technology that serves as a drug screening system with human or animal cell micro-organs to supplement and reduce animal studies, while increasing the success of clinical trials with new drugs. The technology was originally developed to evaluate pharmaceuticals in zero gravity to accelerate development and validation of countermeasures for humans in space as well as evaluate space and planetary stressors on a biological level. The NASA developed Micro-Organ Device is a microfluidic device containing a variety of microstructures and assemblies of cells, all designed to mimic a complex in vivo microenvironment by modeling one or more in vivo micro-organ structures, the architectures and composition of the extracellular matrices in the organs of interest, and the in vivo fluid flows. The fully automated technology can be used to perform early stage in vivo drug screening without the use of animal experimentation, saving time, money, and resources. This NASA Technology is available for your company to license and develop into a commercial product. NASA does not manufacture products for commercial sale.

The Technology
The NASA developed Micro-Organ Device (MOD) platform technology is a small, lightweight, and reproducible in vitro drug screening model that can inexpensively biomimic different mammalian tissues for a multitude of applications. The technology is automated and imposes minimal demands for resources (power, analytes, and fluids). The MOD technology uses titanium tetra(isopropoxide) to bond a microscale support to a substrate and uses biopattering and 3D tissue bioprinting on a microfluidic microchip to eliminate variations in local seeding density while minimizing selection pressure. With the MOD, pharmaceutical companies can test more candidates and concentrate on those with more promise therefore, reducing R&D overall cost. This innovation overcomes major disadvantages of conventional in vitro and in vivo experimentation for purposes of investigating effects of medicines, toxins, and possibly other foreign substances. For example, the MOD platform technology could host life-like miniature assemblies of human cells and the effects observed in tests performed could potentially be extrapolated more readily to humans than could effects observed in conventional in vitro cell cultures, making it possible to reduce or eliminate experimentation on animals. The automated NASA developed technology with minimal footprint and power requirements, micro-volumes of fluids and waste, high throughput and parallel analyses on the same chip, will advance the research and development for new drugs and materials.
A Lab on a Chip One of the MOD designs for a drug conversion study showing the conversion of an inactive drug form A to the active drug form A' by perfusion through a liver micro-organ, the effect of the active drug form A' on a secondary target bone micro-organ and the monitoring of A", a tertiary metabolite form of the drug.
  • 3D Tissue Models
  • Quality Control
  • Enhanced Accuracy
  • Fully Automated
  • Cost Efficient
  • Minimal Resources Needed

  • Pharmaceutical Drug Screening: Absorption, Distribution, Bioaccumulation, Metabolism, Efficacy, Toxicity
  • Laboratory and Research Studies: Phamacokinetic and Pharmacodynamics studies
Technology Details

health medicine and biotechnology
MSC-23988-1 MSC-23988-2
8343740 8580546
R. Chang, B. Starly, C. Culbertson, H. Holtorf, S. Gonda, W. Sun (2006) Development of an in vitro Micro-organ Model for Pharmacokinetic Microanalysis, Bioengineering Conference IEEE, 183-184 pages. doi: 10.1109/NEBC.2006.1629813
Similar Results
Female Researcher using Microscope
Miniature Bioreactor System for Cell Culture
The miniature bioreactor system was developed to provide the capabilities for NASA to perform cell studies in space and then provide results back to investigators on Earth with minimal tools and cost. The miniature bioreactor system has the potential to also be used on Earth as a laboratory bench-top cell culturing system without the need for expensive equipment and reagents. The system can be operated under computer control to reduce the operator handling and to reduce result variations. The system includes a bioreactor, a fluid-handling subsystem, a chamber wherein the bioreactor is maintained in a controlled atmosphere and temperature, and control subsystems. The system can be used to culture both anchorage dependent and suspension cells (prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell types). Cells can be cultured for extended periods of time in this system, and samples of cells can be extracted and analyzed at specified intervals. The miniature bioreactor system for cell culturing has applications in pharmaceutical drug screening and cell culture studies.
Bio-Med stock image
Ionic Magnetic Resonance Tailors Animal Cells/Tissues
The apparatus comprises a randomized gravity vector multiphasic culture system with a self-feeding growth module, an optionally disposable nutrient module, and a removable AIMR chamber that delivers a pulsating multivariant field to the contents of the culture system. It produces overlapping or fluctuating alternating ionic magnetic resonance frequencies at one or more modal intervals ranging from about 7.8 Hz to about 59.9 Hz to the cell chamber. The apparatus may yield better regulation that can be manipulated to allow for increased rate of cell growth, faster differentiation, increased cell fidelity, and the induction or suppression of selective physiological genes involved in directing cellular differentiation and dedifferentiation. The use of an AIMR field may provide a significant improvement over existing bioreactors, including pulsating electromagnetic field (PEMF) and time-variance electromagnetic field (TVEMF) cellular growth induced systems, in that AIMR incorporates the modulation of cellular transcription. The AIMR system utilizes pre-sterilized disposable modules and a removable alternating ionic magnetic resonance chamber, reducing the hazard for contamination, allowing scientists to implement physiological and homeostatic parameters similar to a naturally occurring physiological system.
Portable Medical Diagnosis Instrument
The technology utilizes four cutting-edge sensor technologies to enable minimally- or non-invasive analysis of various biological samples, including saliva, breath, and blood. The combination of technologies and sample pathways have unique advantages that collectively provides a powerful analytical capability. The four key technology components include the following: (1) the carbon nanotube (CNT) array designed for the detection of volatile molecules in exhaled breath; (2) a breath condenser surface to isolate nonvolatile breath compounds in exhaled breath; (3) the miniaturized differential mobility spectrometer (DMS) -like device for the detection of volatile and non-volatile molecules in condensed breath and saliva; and (4) the miniaturized circular disk (CD)-based centrifugal microfluidics device that can detect analytes in any liquid sample as well as perform blood cell counts. As an integrated system, the device has two ports for sample entry a mouthpiece for sampling of breath and a port for CD insertion. The breath analysis pathway consists of a CNT array followed by a condenser surface separating liquid and gas phase breath. The exhaled breath condensate is then analyzed via a DMS-like device and the separated gas breath can be analyzed by both CNT sensor array again and by DMS detectors.
Wafer Scale Fabrication
Electrochemical Sensors Based on Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
NASA’s electrochemical Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) microelectrode array biosensor advantageously incorporates a microbead detection construct, coupled with a magnetic immobilization construct, which substantially increases the signal sensitivity of a sensor. The magnetic immobilization construct draws the microbead detection construct to an electrode detection surface, enhancing signal sensitivity. By concentrating the signaling molecules close to the electrode detection surface, electrochemical redox cycling is achieved by reducing the distance between the two, allowing for regeneration of reporter molecules. Whereas a traditional ELISA testing exhibits five to ten signaling molecules per probe molecule binding event, the present electrochemical ELISA-based biosensor testing exhibits up to 4,857 signaling molecules per probe molecule binding event. The model bead construct exhibits a more than 6.75-fold in increased measured signal, and more than 35.7-fold improvement in signal sensitivity. When compared to traditional optical ELISA, the present invention improves the limit of detection by up to a factor of 60.5. NASA’s electromagnetic ELISA-based biosensor can be used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus to enhance Covid-19 testing during the early phases of infection. The technology may also be modified to detect other biomarkers.
An example four-chamber microfluidics pressure based switching and valving system Pressure sources (P); valves (V); receptacle (W); fluid reservoir (R); four wells (WA – WD); 
microfluid channels or conduits (C); sensors (S)
Microfluidics Pressure-Based Switching and Valving Array
The innovative technology from Ames acts as a microfluidics switch array, using combinations of pressure and flow conditions to achieve specific logic states that determine the sequences of sample movement between microfluidic wells. This advancement will enable automation of complex laboratory techniques not possible with earlier microfluidics technologies that are designed to follow predetermined flow paths and well targets. This novel method also enables autonomous operations including changing the flow paths and targeting well configurations in situ based on measured data decision parameters. This microfluidic system can be reconfigured for use in various experimental applications, requiring only an adjustment of the programmed pressure sequencing, reducing the need for custom design and development for each new application. For example, this technology could provide the ability to selectively constrain or move biological specimens in the experimental wells, allowing evolutionary studies of model organisms in response to various stressors, evaluation of different growth conditions on biological production of antibodies or other small molecule therapeutics, among other potential applications. Likewise, this platform can be used to foster time-dependent, step-wise, chemical reactions, which could be used for novel chemical processes or in situ resource utilization.
Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo