Researchers Develop a Heart On A Chip

Heart on a chip

Chemotherapy can be detrimental to cardiac cells, and to assess the safety of chemotherapy drugs, researchers at Cedars-Sinai have developed a three-dimensional “heart-on-a-chip.”. It is perhaps essential to saving the hearts of cancer patients. According to a study mentioned in the journal Lab on a Chip, the stem cell-created heart-on-a-chip can anticipate how medications will affect human heart cells with high accuracy.

The researchers worked using induced pluripotent stem cells, which are blood cells that have been reprogrammed into stem cells. Moreover, they can differentiate into any cell type in the body. The researchers created two different types of heart cells using stem cells. But, instead of putting them all in an unstructured cell culture dish, which is customary in heart toxicity testing. They put the cells inside specialized chips.

The 3D chips feature two channels that are arranged to cross each other, keeping each cell type separate but allowing them to interact. The chips also allow for movement and the introduction of fluids.

Arun Sharma, Ph.D., a research scientist on the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, said:

The chip allows us to stretch the cells back and forth to mimic a heartbeat, and to introduce fluid to mimic the flow of blood through the heart. It’s like giving the cells a workout that strengthens the muscle cells and allows the vessel cells to form mini blood vessel-like structures.”
These “matured” cells provide a better test platform for drug toxicity studies than cells that haven’t undergone this maturation process because they more closely resemble the way adult heart cells function,

To demonstrate the efficacy of heart-on-a-chip as a drug-testing platform. The research team, led by lead author and postdoctoral fellow Maedeh Mozneb, PhD., exposed the heart chip to a chemotherapy drug known as a VEGFR/PDGFR-inhibiting tyrosine kinase inhibitor. The drug has some negative effects on heart muscle and blood vessel cells. In the cardiac chips, damage to both types of cells was noted.

Heart-on-a-chip technology may dramatically lower medication development costs and accelerate the release of new treatments. If further research yields positive results.

The development of patient-specific chips to customize cancer treatment is another potential use for these cardiac chips in the future.


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