New organ-on-a-chip model of human synovium could accelerate development of treatments for arthritis

12 October 2023

Today is World Arthritis Day, a day to raise awareness of this group of debilitating diseases that affect over 10 million people in the UK alone. And what better way to celebrate than with news of a promising new research breakthrough?

Professor Martin Knight, Dr Timothy Hopkins and their colleagues have developed a new organ-on-a-chip model of human synovium, the tissue that lines our joints. This model could help researchers better understand the mechanisms of arthritis and develop new treatments.

But what exactly is an organ-on-a-chip? It's a tiny device that mimics the structure and function of a human organ. In this case, the researchers created a chip that mimics the synovium, complete with blood vessels and mechanical loading.

This chip can reproduce many of the key features of native human synovium, including producing key synovial fluid components and responding to inflammation. This suggests that the new platform has immense potential to help researchers understand disease mechanisms and identify and test new therapies for arthritic diseases.

"We believe that our synovium-on-a-chip model, and related models of human joints currently under development in our lab, have the potential to transform pre-clinical testing and streamlining delivery of new therapeutics for the treatment of arthritis," Professor Martin Knight said.

Contact: Professor Martin Knight

Updated by: David Lockwood