Researchers at the University of Cambridge and American scientists have teamed up to develop a “membrane on chip” that mimics a human cell membrane that continuously monitors the interaction of drugs and infection factors with human cells, promising to speed up the screening of new coronapneumonia candidates, the University of Cambridge reported.
The researchers say their latest research has focused on how neo-coronary pneumonia attacks human cell membranes and how it is blocked. They hope to develop a sensor that preserves the structure, mobility, and all the key features of the cell membrane and controls ion motion without the need to keep cells alive.
It is reported that the new device formed on the chip, retains the function of the cell membrane, can imitate any type of cell membrane, including bacteria and human cell membranes, and even the plant’s hard cell wall. The device uses an electronic chip to measure any changes in the cell membrane, allowing scientists to safely and easily understand how cells interact with the outside world. Cell membranes play a key role in biological signaling, controlling all biological processes such as pain relief and viral infections, and acting as “gatekeepers” between cells and the outside world.
The researchers explain that the device integrates cell membranes with conductive polymer electrodes and transistors. To create this “membrane on the chip,” the Cornell team first optimized a process for producing membranes from live cells, and then worked with the Cambridge team to “trick” them into polymer electrodes while preserving all of their functions. Hydrated conductive polymers provide a more “natural” environment for cell membranes. The device no longer relies on living cells and measurements can last longer. In addition, “the device is as small as human cells and can be easily manufactured as an array, allowing us to do multiple measurements at the same time.”
The device will speed up screening for new coronapneumonia candidates and provide answers to questions such as how the virus works. It is reported that the researchers also plan to make a virus membrane and fusion with the chip, these virus membranes and the new coronavirus membrane is the same, but does not contain the nucleic acid of the virus, scientists can use to identify neutralized virus antics (the new coronavirus borrowed from its access to host cells) of new drugs or antibodies, the work is expected to start on August 1.