Creating an ‘adult-like’ mature human cardiac tissue

From Phys.Org:

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  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  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  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.”

More here.