Bio-MEMS is an abbreviation for biomedical (or biological) microelectromechanical systems . Bio-MEMS have considerable overlap, and is sometimes considered synonymous, with lab-on-a-chip (LOC) and micro total analysis systems (μTAS). Bio-MEMS is typically more focused on mechanical parts and microfabrication technologies made suitable for biological applications.
Microfluidics, a technology characterized by the engineered manipulation of fluids at the submillimetre scale, has shown considerable promise for improving diagnostics and biology research. Certain properties of microfluidic technologies, such as rapid sample processing and the precise control of fluids in an assay, have made them attractive candidates to replace traditional experimental approaches. Here we analyse the progress made by lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies in recent years, and discuss the clinical and research areas in which they have made the greatest impact. We also suggest directions that biologists, engineers and clinicians can take to help this technology live up to its potential.
An Organ-on-a-Chip (OC) is a multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture chip that simulates the activities, mechanics and physiological response of entire organs and organ systems. It constitutes the subject matter of significant biomedical engineering research, more precisely in bio-MEMS. The convergence of Lab-on-Chips (LOCs) and cell biology has permitted the study of human physiology in an organ-specific context, introducing a novel model of in vitro multicellular human organisms. One day, they will perhaps abolish the need for animals in drug development and toxin testing.
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