14 July, London
Scientists have, in a major breakthrough, created a miniature human heart from the heart of rat, a finding that could help test new drugs as well as revolutionise transplants.
The mini human heart, which was created by introducing human cells into the matrix of a whole rat heart, may make it easier to confirm basic science findings and test potential new heart drugs for safety and efficacy, the preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2017 Scientific Sessions said.
Using a technique called 4-Flow cannulation, the researchers introduced a solution not just into the arteries but into the veins’ network of the heart.
This system allowed the researchers to strip rat cells while preserving the lining matrix of the whole heart to repopulate with human cells.
The miniature hearts will make it easier to test new drugs for safety and efficacy, and could also lead to a new method to generate heart muscle cells. It’s also hoped that one day, a full sized functional heart could be grown for human transplant, Duong Nguyen, from AstraZeneca — a Sweden based Pharmaceuticals company in Gothenburg — was quoted as saying to the dailymail.co.uk
Previously, researchers have used the Langendorff method to remove an animal’s heart in order to introduce fluid through the aorta, the body’s largest vessel, then into the artery network of a heart.
This method is also used to deliver solutions that strip away cells from the rat heart before introducing the human cells to model a human heart.
However, unlike the Langendorff perfusion, 4-Flow cannulation enabled the researchers to preserve the circulation within the entire heart to maintain the normal flow and in addition to stimulate the mechanical expansion heart chambers, the researchers said.