Joint-on-chip platforms: entering a new era of in vitro models for arthritis

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Arthritis affects millions of people worldwide. With only a few disease-modifying drugs available for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and none for osteoarthritis, a clear need exists for new treatment options. Current disease models used for drug screening and development suffer from several disadvantages and, most importantly, do not accurately emulate all facets of human joint diseases. A humanized joint-on-chip (JoC) model or platform could revolutionize research and drug development in rheumatic diseases. A JoC model is a multi-organ-on-chip platform that incorporates a range of engineered features to emulate essential aspects and functions of the human joint and faithfully recapitulates the joint’s physiological responses. In this Review, we propose an architecture for such a JoC platform, discuss the status of the engineering of individual joint tissues and the efforts to combine them in a functional JoC model and identify unresolved issues and challenges in constructing an accurate, physiologically relevant system. The goal is to ultimately obtain a reliable and ready-to-use humanized model of the joint for studying the pathophysiology of rheumatic diseases and screening drugs for treatment of these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalNature reviews rheumatology
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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