Scientists create thousands of mini-hearts
Researchers in Scotland have grown thousands of miniature hearts in order to test potential drugs that may be able to treat heart hypertrophy, an untreatable condition.
The tiny balls of heart cells beat together in a dish every two seconds, and the tissue is the exact same as that of human heart muscle. Beating heart cells have been made before, but this is the first time they are being used to investigate disease.
For this research, the size of the heart doesn’t matter. The spheres of cells, made from stem cells, measure 1mm across.
For the study, researchers induced disease in the mini-hearts, particularly heart hypertrophy. This is an untreatable condition where the heart muscle becomes thicker and stiffer, making it more difficult to pump blood through the body. In some cases the heart can suddenly stop.
The mini hearts allow researchers to test a wide range of chemicals to see which could be cures. Researchers say they found one drug, currently being used to treat cancer, which could help prevent hypertrophy.