A device that mimics a human vein could replace the need for animals for some studies. Scientists at the University of Birmingham are using the device to demonstrate the underlying mechanism of venous clot formation in research funded by the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3R), British Heart Foundation and Wellcome.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein, usually in the leg. The condition can be dangerous if a part of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Identifying the mechanism underlying DVT is important in understanding how to treat the condition and tapping into a market that is expected to reach $1.8bn by 2029. The developers of the device were able to demonstrate the role of a bridge between the von Willebrand Factor and a platelet surface receptor – an underlying mechanism of venous clot formation.

The device is more advanced than previous models as it can open and close valves – a key characteristic of real veins. Along with having a layer of cells inside the vessel, the vein-on-a-chip is a “realistic alternative to using animal models in research that focuses on how blood clots form” according to Dr. Alexander Brill of Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Animal models are the backbone of scientific research. In 2020, 8.6 million animals were used in research in the EU. Traditionally seen as the main path to advancing research, views have changed as animal welfare becomes more prevalent in public discussions. Charities such as the RSPCA and Animal Aid have called for an to end animal testing and lethal dose tests. Emerging technologies, such as organs-on-a-chip, are facilitating the shift from animal testing to a more sustainable and ethical research landscape.

“The principles of the 3Rs – to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research – are embedded in national and international legislation and regulations on the use of animals in scientific procedures. But there is always more that can be done. Innovations such as the new device created for use in thrombosis research are a step in the right direction,” added Brill.