90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

UCF Researcher’s Human-on-a-Chip Technology Could Make Human and Animal Testing Obsolete

Play Audio

Organs on a chip could be used to develop and test new drugs without using an animal or human model. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

A University of Central Florida researcher has designed technology that allows him to study opioid overdose and the antidotes used to reverse it without human or animal testing. 

Nanoscience Technology Center’s James Hickman says microscopic liver and heart cells are attached to glass chips and then flooded with opioids to simulate the overdose and determine how different organs are affected. 

The same cells are then flooded with the overdose reversal drug NARCAN to determine whether there are negative side effects.

“We don’t know that there are problems at this point but this would be a way to quantify that in human cells.”

He says this applies to chronic drug users who might need multiple doses of the drug or first responders who administer it.

“We’d be able to look at it to screen drugs and do it when we don’t have a really good animal model.”

Hinkman says this human-on-a-chip technology could also be used to develop antidotes for people who overdose on drugs that aren’t opioids or to test alternatives to treat chronic pain. 

He says it could replace animal and human models in pharmacologic testing outside addiction medicine.

If you’d like to listen to the story, click on the clip above.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »