HomeHealthA new lab-grown mini heart chamber could speed up heart disease treatment

A new lab-grown mini heart chamber could speed up heart disease treatment

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A tiny replica of the living heart chamber has been created by US researchers. It can be used as a test bed for new heart disease treatments and may even be used to mimic it.

Nanoengineered parts were combined with human heart tissue to create the miniature replica. The miniature replica does not require any external power sources, and it is just like a real heart. It beats naturally, powered by stem cell-derived live heart tissue.

Researchers could get a better understanding of the organ’s functioning with the device. They can track the growth of the heart in embryos, study the effects of diseases, and test new treatments. All this without any risk to patients.

Researchers at Boston University developed the device, which they call miniPUMP. Also known as the Cardio Miniaturised Precision-enabled Unidirectional Microfluidic Pump, it could be used to build lab-based versions for other organs such as lungs and kidneys. Science Advances published their findings.

Alice White, a professor in the BU Colleges of Engineering, said that it is possible to study the progression of disease in a way not possible before.

“We chose to work on heart tissue because of its particularly complicated mechanics, but we showed that, when you take nanotechnology and marry it with tissue engineering, therea�s potential for replicating this for multiple organs,” she added.

According to the researchers, the device could speed up drug development and make it cheaper and faster. Researchers could use miniPUMP to help predict the success or failure of a medical drug before it passes through the development pipeline. This would save millions and even decades.

The miniPUMP, at just 3 centimetres in size, is smaller than a postal stamp. It is designed to mimic a human heart ventricle, or muscular lower chamber. The custom-made components are attached to a thin 3D-printed plastic piece.

These miniature acrylic valves can be opened and closed to regulate the flow of liquid, which is water in this instance. Small tubes are also available that funnel that fluid, just like veins and arteries. The stem cell technology used to create cardiomyocytes, which are the muscles that help make heart tissue contract.

Two-photon direct laser printing was used to print the components. This is a better version of 3D printing. The liquid resin becomes solid when light is reflected into it. Because the light can be focused with such precision — to a very small spot — many components of the miniPUMP are smaller than a dust particle.

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