Saturday, February 09, 2008
Dr Sangeeta Bhatia
Dr Sangeeta Bhatia - associate professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science pioneered one of the first successful methods for sustaining functional liver cells outside the body.devised a novel way to create tiny colonies of living human liver cells that model the full-sized organ. The work could allow better screening of new drugs that are potentially harmful to the liver and reduce the costs associated with their development.Liver toxicity is one of the main reasons pharmaceutical companies. November 15 online issue of Advanced Materials and the November 18 online issue of Nature Biotechnology carried important advances in engineering and medicine by this 38 year old Indian-American scientist.Liver toxicity is one of the main reasons pharmaceutical companies pull drugs off the market. These dangerous drugs slip through approval processes due in part to the shortcomings of liver toxicity tests. Existing tests rely on liver cells from rats, which do not always respond to toxins the way human cells do. Or they rely on dying human cells that survive for only a few days in the lab.The new technology arranges human liver cells into tiny colonies only 500 micrometers (millionths of a meter) in diameter that act much like a real liver and survive for up to six weeks.