Wednesday, 08 July 2020 09:19

South Carolina: In vitro heart attack model Featured

To better understand heart failure and to improve drug testing for patients with heart failure, scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and from Clemson University have developed a heart attack model in the form of an organoid.

A research team from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Clemson University, led by bioengineer Dr. Ying Mei, recently reported in Nature Biomedical Engineering that they have developed human heart organoids less than one millimeter in diameter that are very similar to the physiological conditions that occur during a heart attack. They developed their cardiac organoids using human induced pluripotent stem cells and supplied them with low oxygen levels (10%). The cardiac organoid mimics a human version of the heart and is similar to the tissue dysfunction that occurs after the oxygen deficiency caused by a heart attack.

Since it is very difficult to obtain a sample of the heart tissue immediately after a heart attack, most knowledge about heart attacks comes from observations obtained long after the initial lack of oxygen.  The organoid model is intended to fill this gap making the processes immediately after the oxygen deficiency visible.

In addition to drug testing against the effects of a heart attack, the model can also be used to test drugs that are safe in people without a heart attack, but whose effects are not yet sufficiently known in people with heart attacks.

The next step is to integrate immune cells into the model.

Original paper:
Richards, D.J., et al. (2020) Human cardiac organoids for the modelling of myocardial infarction and drug cardiotoxicity. Nature Biomedical Engineering.