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Scientists have developed a lung-on-chip model to study how the body responds to early tuberculosis (TB) infection. While TB mostly affects adults, there are currently no effective vaccines available to this group. This is partly due to challenges with studying the early stages of infection, which take place when just one or two M. tuberculosis bacteria are deposited deep inside the lung.

"We created the lung-on-chip model as a way of studying some of these early events," explains lead author Vivek Thacker.

"Our work shines a light on the early events that take place during TB infection and provides a model for scientists to build on for future research into other respiratory infections," says senior author John McKinney, Head of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Microtechnology at EPFL. "It also paves the way for experiments that increase the complexity of our model to help understand why some TB lesions progress while others heal, which can occur at the same time in the same patient. This knowledge could one day be harnessed to develop effective new interventions against TB and other diseases."

Read the full story: Lung-on-chip provides new insight on body's response to early tuberculosis infection