Fwd: Latest Initiatives — Drug Screening Using Engineered Tissues

Dear GRG Member,



JAdams@grg.org or call (949) 922-9786


Previously, initiatives for engineered (lab grown) tissue systems as an improvement or supplement to animal and computer simulation testing were reported to GRG.  The most exciting was the ATHENA system, consisting of heart, liver, lung, and kidney connected by blood supply.


Animal results rarely translate to humans. 

The creation of this technology is moving fast. 

When brought to fruition this will be a huge advance. 


This, in addition to oxytocin and fast track trial methods, is a potential GRG and Bourhenne Med. Res. Fdn. “flagship” project. 


While researching I found NIH, in collaboration with the DARPA and FDA is leading this.


High points of the article below:

–        This marks the first interagency collaboration launched by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

–        aims to develop 3-D human tissue chips that model the structure and function of human organs, such as the lung, liver and heart, and then combine these chips into an integrated system that can mimic complex functions of the human body.

–        Once developed and integrated, researchers can use these models to predict whether a candidate drug, vaccine or biologic agent is safe or toxic in humans in a faster and more cost-effective way than current methods.

–        More than 30 percent of promising medications have failed in human clinical trials because they are determined to be toxic despite promising pre-clinical studies in animal models.

–        Note from JA: The above addresses toxicity – not to mention what works in animals usually doesn’t work in humans

–        This would save time and money

–        NIH RFPs

o   RFA-RM-11-022 

o    RFA-RM-12-001.

o   2014 awardees http://ift.tt/1MREe77

o   NEXT PHASE http://ift.tt/1ogM3Yx

–        Closing paragraphs describe this unique NIH/DARPA/FDA partnership



JAdams@grg.org or call (949) 922-9786





From: John M. “Johnny” Adams, GRG Exec Director [mailto:jadams@grg.org] Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 12:19 PMTo: ‘JAdams@grg.org’Subject: FW: Drug Screening Using Engineered Tissues


Dear GRG Member,


There is a tremendous opportunity for drug screening using engineered tissues to create aging solutions.


Three articles follow.


Members are encouraged to send comments directly to me at JAdams@grg.org or call (949) 922-9786, or to this forum.


Artificial Human Tissues Could Replace Animals in Drug Tests


–        Advanced Tissue-Engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer (ATHENA), the system is essentially a living kit of functional, cellphone-sized organs.

–        Interconnected by artificial arteries and veins, ATHENA will consist of tissues that behave exactly like a human’s heart, lungs, kidney and liver.

–        Engineered organs with different tissue types (heart, liver, lungs, kidney) will be interconnected with blood

–        Expected to bring about new methods for preliminary drug testing while possibly reducing the cost and time of pharmaceutical development. 

–        ATHENA will consist of  tissues that behave exactly like a human’s heart, lungs, kidney and liver

–        Dynamic system to more realistically mimic the human physiological environment than static human cells in a dish, to understand chemical effects on human organs as never before.

–        It’s in process.  “The ultimate goal is to build a lung that breathes, a heart that pumps, a liver that metabolizes and a kidney that excretes -– all connected by a tubing infrastructure much akin to the way blood vessels connect our organs.”

–        ATHENA would also give scientists a more accurate view of how drugs and chemicals react with human tissues, alerting researchers to potential toxic concoctions.

–        Article discusses criticisms that it will ever be completed, ethical quandaries, and benefits of drug testing using disembodied organs.




Saved locally as

E:\_1_1_1_AIF\1_1_1_1_1_EngineeredTissuesArtificial Human Tissues Could Replace Animals in Drug Tests   ENGINEERING.com.html



Development of a drug screening platform based on engineered heart tissue.


–        Tissue engineering may provide advanced in vitro models for drug testing and, in combination with recent induced pluripotent stem cell technology, disease modeling, but available techniques are unsuitable for higher throughput.

–        Objective was to present a new miniaturized and automated method based on engineered heart tissue (EHT)


–        Methods, Results and Conclusions were presented.

–        CONCLUSIONS:  They developed a simple technique to construct large series of EHT and automatically evaluate contractile activity. The method shall be useful for drug screening and disease modeling.





Artificially engineered breast cancer tissue offers platform for drug testing


–        A team of Auburn University researchers is engineering artificial breast cancer tissue that will provide fellow cancer researchers with a 3-D model on which they can test cancer drugs.

–        The research in Lipke’s lab has historically focused on engineering cardiac tissue and developing cardiac regeneration techniques, but Pradhan found a link between that research and cancer-related angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels.

–        The researchers say modeling the cancer tissue in a 3-D format is important because it simulates how cancer grows in the human body.

–        Article discusses how researchers create the cancer tissue using a biomaterial called PEG-fibrinogen

–        The researchers are performing various tests to examine how the cells respond to the surrounding environment and to characterize the different properties of the cancer cells, such as specific genes or proteins that cause the cancer-like behavior.

–        Other cancer researchers at Auburn have expressed interest in testing the cancer drugs on this model

–        This could potentially reduce drug costs and the amount of time it takes cancer drugs to come to market in the future.

–        Bruce Smith, the initiative’s director said  “One of our goals is to be interdisciplinary, to bring people from different disciplines together and enhance cancer research that way … And hopefully when we do that, we get new and better ways of approaching cancer.”





John M. “Johnny” Adams

Executive Director Gerontology Research Group


(650) 265-4969

(949) 922-9786 cell


CEO / Exec. Director

Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation / Aging Intervention Foundation





About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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