Leona M. And Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Helps Fund Research to Find Personalized Treatment for Crohn's Disease
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. These miniature systems, which serve as accurate models of various organs from the heart and lungs to the gut and the kidneys, can use a patient's own cells to test drugs and understand disease processes to help determine the right treatment for the right patient.
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.
Now, thanks to a new $1.8 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Kim will apply his technology to better understand Crohn's disease—an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause severe adnominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and malnutrition. He and his research team will develop their Crohn's disease-on-a-chip system to gain greater insight into what can cause and exacerbate the disease, with the goal of developing new treatments...