The world of disease cure and prevention is a war we often don’t see. Hidden behind the industrial walls and hygiene stations of some of the best labs in the world, brilliant minds are figuring out the best ways to stop harmful diseases from spawning, spreading and growing. 

These are the modern day unsung heroes, and the work they do gives us more of a chance on this unpredictable planet. As technology develops, luckily their arsenal is becoming more and more sophisticated, allowing for better progress in the march towards a cleaner, more hygienic world. 

In the past few years, one of these lesser spoken about technological marvels is the ability for scientists to now create miniature recreated human organs on microchips, which allows for a much faster drug development cycle. While an in vivo study of drugs has been customary for a long time and is far and by the best method for cures to be tested or anatomies to be replicated, this new technology is an exciting new development for specific circumstances.

The new development, developed by the Florida Atlantic University hosted researches, means that the chip will allow a close simulation of the mini environment important to the maternal and fetus-growing needs. This will allow them to complete multiple studies on a range of placental conditions and diseases which grow. Hopefully, the intended aim of this project is that it can prevent women with malaria from passing on that difficulty to the child. 

While the current goals are lofty and impressive, that’s not the main thing of interest here. What’s interesting is that it’s the first step in a long line of tests which may not need a human embryo to conduct the studies with. This streamlines the process and helps laboratories bonded in this effort to overcome the difficulty resting with supply of these fundamental materials, as well as allowing for multiple studies to be conducted on a range of diseases without having to limit themselves to the proper storage of a select amount of people. 

However, that shouldn’t take away from the absolutely tremendous achievement of the current malaria resolving goals. Malaria causes almost 200,000 neonatal deaths each year, so we’re not talking about a niche cure here. For the specifics of the chip they’re testing over the next few months, it will undergo rigorous well being and nutrient vascular cell analysis, as well as apply many different drug treatments. 

The tests will be conducted by Dr. Andrew Oleinikov and Dr. Sarah Du - both working in tandem to complete the aims allotted. Oleinikov has been at this since 2004, and is confident that using microfluidics is the best method of becoming aware of what makes neonatal diseases tick ‘down the the single cell’ level.

As the tests continue, both Florida Atlantic University and Museum of Modern Art (New York) are the best places to hear about news regarding these developments and to see an Organ Chip respectively. For those interested in microbiology, science and also those interested in avoiding infectious disease (likely everyone,) the future's looking brighter by the day.