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Engineers have grown a beating, mini version of part of a human heart

Canadian researchers have grown a beating, small-scale bioartificial replica of the left ventricle of the human heart in the lab.

Published Jul 16, 2022 12:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Aug 9 2022 1:05 AM CDT

A study on the bioartificial heart component titled "Toward Hierarchical Assembly of Aligned Cell Sheets into a Conical Cardiac Ventricle Using Microfabricated Elastomers" has been published in the journal Advanced Biology.

Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) have grown a miniature version of the left ventricle of a human heart. It is constructed from bioartificial tissue comprising living heart cells and can beat strongly enough to pump fluid. The left ventricle is responsible in humans for pumping freshly oxygenated blood into the aorta, the main artery carrying blood away from the heart.

The small-scale model ventricle provides researchers with a new means to study various heart diseases and conditions and potential therapies for treating them. The team created it with scaffolds made from biocompatible polymers, littered with heart muscle cells, which were left to grow to form living tissue. The scaffold ensured the tissue grew into the shape the team sought, creating "three overlapping layers of heart cells that beat in unison."

"With our model, we can measure ejection volume - how much fluid gets pushed out each time the ventricle contracts - as well as the pressure of that fluid. Both of these were nearly impossible to get with previous models," said Sargol Okhovatian.

"With these models, we can study not only cell function, but tissue function and organ function, all without the need for invasive surgery or animal experimentation. We can also use them to screen large libraries of drug candidate molecules for positive or negative effects," said Professor Milica Radisic, senior author of the paper.

"The dream of every tissue engineer is to grow organs that are fully ready to be transplanted into the human body. We are still many years away from that, but I feel like this bioartificial ventricle is an important stepping-stone," continued Okhovatian.

You can read more from the study here.

Engineers have grown a beating, mini version of part of a human heart 01 |
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