News | Artificial Heart | August 15, 2022

Creating an 'Adult-Like' Mature Human Cardiac Tissue

A new model developed by researchers can be used for a myriad of applications, most notably to evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs on the cardiovascular system 

A new model developed by researchers can be used for a myriad of applications, most notably to evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs on the cardiovascular system

August 15, 2022 —  Researchers in the Biomedical Engineering Department at UConn have developed a new cardiac cell-derived platform that closely mimics the human heart, unlocking potential for more thorough preclinical drug development and testing, and model for cardiac diseases. 

The research, published in Cell Reports by Assistant Professor Kshitiz in collaboration with Dr. Junaid Afzal in the cardiology department at the University of California San Francisco, presents a method that accelerates maturation of human cardiac cells towards a state suitable enough to be a surrogate for preclinical drug testing. 

“There is a very strong need to create human cardiac constructs for all sorts of applications. Small animal models just do not recapitulate human heart biology, and human samples are scarce,” says Kshitiz. “This matters because all drugs need to be tested for their toxicity to heart. It is widely believed that a large number of them unnecessarily fail clinical trials because we do not have human samples to test them with.” 

Kshitiz and Afzal first identified the need to create a matured human cardiac tissue during their time together at Johns Hopkins Medicine

“When methods were developed to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells to cardiac cells, it created a big hope that finally we will have human heart constructs to work with,” said Afzal. “While it is straightforward to get human cardiac cells, they are similar to fetal cells. What we need is adult cells.” 

Cardiovascular safety is the number one cause for failure of preclinical drug development, and there is a long standing need to create human cardiac tissue models to test drugs for cardiotoxicity. Currently, the small animal heart models display vastly different biochemical, physiological, and genetic features from humans—making it difficult to replicate the human heart in preclinical studies. In particular, it is very difficult to perform metabolic assessment of current cardiac constructs. Heart beats continuously and is a highly metabolically active organ. 

“Metabolic and redox maturation is critical for heart cells, and we are able to achieve it and possibly create a gold standard—fundamentally shifting our expectations of creating a metabolically mature cardiac tissue,” the researchers said. 

In the study, the researchers utilized the cardiac biology in an adult human heart to rapidly mature differentiated cardiac cells into a more adult-like state. Within 30 days, the researchers achieved cardiac cells that displayed structural, mechanical, metabolic, and electrophysiological characteristics close to adult heart muscle

The researchers are optimistic that this application will not only be used for preclinical drug testing, but can also be used in future precision disease modeling to study disease mechanisms and test for regenerative therapies. The researchers hope that the many drugs that fail unnecessarily due to non-human methods will be salvaged for cures for cancer, immune and neurological diseases. 

For more information: https://health.uconn.edu/ 


Related Content

News | Artificial Heart

November 20, 2023 — Student engineers from the University of Bath are on top of the world after winning an international ...

Home November 20, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

November 10, 2023 — BiVACOR, a clinical-stage medical device company developing the Total Artificial Heart (TAH), has ...

Home November 10, 2023
Home
Feature | Artificial Heart | By Francisco Arabia, MD, MBA

The U.S. organ donation system has long been under scrutiny, with questions about fairness in organ allocation and ...

Home July 20, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

July 3, 2023 — Nearly one-third of patients with an implanted device to prevent sudden death have anxiety in the first ...

Home July 03, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

May 1, 2023 — Picard Medical, Inc. (“Picard Medical”), the parent company of SynCardia Systems, LLC (“SynCardia”), a ...

Home May 01, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

April 4, 2023 — A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has induced stem cells to emulate the development of ...

Home April 04, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

March 17, 2023 — More donated hearts could be suitable for transplantation if they are kept functioning within the body ...

Home March 17, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

February 17, 2023 — Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute reached a significant milestone in cardiac ...

Home February 17, 2023
Home
News | Artificial Heart

July 14, 2022 — University of Toronto Engineering researchers have grown a small-scale model of a human left heart ...

Home July 14, 2022
Home
News | Artificial Heart

April 25, 2022 – There’s no safe way to get a close-up view of the human heart as it goes about its work: you can’t just ...

Home April 25, 2022
Home
Subscribe Now