Great honor today for the ARTORG Center! The President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann visited the ARTORG laboratories, where a novel generation of in-vitro models, called “organs-on-chip” was presented. Those models enable to accurately mimic fundamental parameters of the cellular environment found in the body and that currently cannot be reproduced in-vitro in standard Petri dishes. The team around Prof. Dr. Olivier Guenat succeeded to develop an in-vitro model of the lung alveoli that both mimics the ultra-thin alveolar barrier, where the gas exchange takes place, and the cyclic movements of the respiration. This development is the result of a close collaboration with the clinicians of the Pulmonary Medicine (Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Geiser) and of the Thoracic Surgery (Prof. Dr. med. Ralph Schmid) Departments of the University Hospital of Bern. The mechanical stress that is exerted on lung cells has a profound impact on their behavior and plays a key role in the progression of a number of lung diseases. This advanced in-vitro model will be commercialized by the start-up AlveoliX that recently signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Bern about the rights to use and commercialize this technology. Those organs-on-chip systems are expected to better predict the effects of new drugs in humans than standard Petri dishes and are thus of great interest for pharmaceutical companies.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. med. R. Schmid, director of the Thoracic Surgery Division, Prof. Dr. O. Guenat, Head of the Organs-on-Chip Technologies Group, President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. J. Schneider-Ammann and Prof. Dr. med. Th. Geiser, director of the Pulmonary Medicine Division.