Novoheart Creates ‘Heart-in-a-Jar’ using Stem Cells to Test New Drugs
Micro beating heart-like structure called Heart-in-a-Jar is composed of stem cells that can be used for drug testing.
The Novoheart is an actual beating heart-like structure made of stem cells that could revolutionize the path to market for new drugs. Novoheart technology is different from other stem cell-derived testing methods due to its three-dimensional structure. “We can actually measure the hollow chamber that is pumping, so we can monitor how much pressure the organ is generating, like the blood pressure,” said Kevin Costa, co-founder of Novoheart.
Creating the heart valves is a multi-step process. Scientists reprogram blood cells into stem cells, which are then manipulated into heart cells. Millions of these heart cells form a clumped gel like solution that grows into a mold taking the shape of the heart. Once fully formed, the mini heart beats allowing scientists to measure the pace, which is similar to a heart rate.
Researchers involved in the study stated that drugs could be tested on bio-artificial human hearts to see their impact, levels of toxicity, and side-effects. According to Cell Culture Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, stem cell culture plays an important role in examining the efficacy of novel drug and clinical diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. This technique provides safe environment for patients and drug companies for testing of novel drugs. These mini-hearts can figure out both the positive and negative effects of a drug. They can be personalized if required and also can be created in large quantity.
Novoheart was recently listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and has received financial backing from Canadian investors. Scaling up research into practical opportunities is a challenge in the stem cell industry. Companies need to prove their potential to get contracts from pharmaceutical companies that will have commercial value on a long-term basis to maintain their position in market. Heart-in-a-Jar technology is gaining traction from global pharmaceutical industry being in the early stages and futuristic by nature.
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