Simulated beating heart muscle to test drugs

Published
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 Simulated Beating Heart Muscle To Test DrugsScientists have developed a new technique to test drugs without using human or animal trials to test the drugs’ safety. The "in vitro" technique, involves using samples of the beating heart tissue to test a drug's effectiveness.

Dr Helen Maddock, from the Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences at Coventry University, an expert in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology believes her new technique could improve the quality of treatment and save hundreds of patients' lives.

"I'm delighted that our research is at a stage where we can confidently say the work-loop assay we've created is the world's only clinically relevant in vitro human model of cardiac contractility. It has the potential to shave years off the development of successful drugs for a range of treatments'" said Dr Maddock.

Dr Maddock uses a sample of heart tissue attached to a rig that enables the muscle to lengthen and shorten while being stimulated by an electrical impulse. This 'simulated' cardiovascular system – known as a work-loop assay – provides the most realistic model of heart muscle dynamics in the world to date, and opens up unprecedented possibilities for identifying negative effects of drugs early and inexpensively – potentially saving lives and speeding up the development of successful drug treatments.

Because a major reason for why many medical treatments fail is negative effects of the drugs on the cardiovascular system, Dr Maddock's technique could revolutionize the way drugs are tested before they even reach animal or human trials.

"I'm delighted that our research is at a stage where we can confidently say the work-loop assay we've created is the world's only clinically relevant in vitro human model of cardiac contractility. It has the potential to shave years off the development of successful drugs for a range of treatments,” says Dr Maddock.

 

 

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