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Engineers put a mini heart on a chip

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Engineers put a mini heart on a chip

Of course, this AI image is only representative of the visualization of this study – the researchers probably have a similar passion for the technology as you do. (Symbol image; source: AdobeStock/Wazir Design)

Today – February 14, 2024 – is Valentine’s Day and of course we at GameStar Tech have to ask you this question: How connected do you feel to technology?

To give you a reference value: Researchers even glued a miniaturized heart to a chip for their new study from 2024 – no joke! If you can’t keep up with it, at least physically, you don’t have to blame yourself.

But joking aside: The researchers’ exotic-sounding project has no Terminator background, but is intended to seriously advance heart research and reduce the number of animal tests for new drugs. More on that in a moment.

By the way, we have already reported in the past about a technical robot heart whose job it is not to function properly.

Better therapies and medications with less animal suffering thanks to the heart chip

The heart chip platform we developed enables the screening of potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy drugs on multiple cardiovascular cell types in a physiologically relevant model.

That’s what the researchers write, according to the magazine Science Alert in your Study. In German and simplified, this means that researchers can observe in advance of future cancer therapies what damage the new treatment method would cause to the heart in the worst case scenario.

Good news: So it’s about one Opportunity for improvement in developing new ones Therapies against cancer.

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This is how it works: The scientists place heart cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) on a chip that imitates the human heart. His special ability: He can make the heart beat around 60 times per minute and thus simulate cardiac functions.

What is pluripotency? To put it simply, such stem cells can develop into all kinds of cells in our body – including heart cells.

Important: It’s not a removed human heart that is soldered onto a circuit board in Frankenstein style – but researchers are growing it from human cells.

According to Science Alert, heart cells (cardiomyocytes) and blood vessel cells (endothelial cells) were attached to the chip using a silicone called polydimenthylsiloxane (PDMS).

Ultimately, multi-cell line hiPSC-based systems, such as the heart chip presented here, may reduce the reliance on animal models traditionally used for preclinical drug cardiotoxicity testing.

Aus der oben verlinkter Studie: Multi-lineage heart-chip models drug cardiotoxicity and enhances maturation of human stem cell-derived cardiovascular cells

Less train station: The number of animal experiments could be reduced with these heart chips as it can simulate the functioning of a real organ. Our fluffy friends often take on this part and hold their heads for us.

Why? The effects of many new medications or the symptoms/possible harm of certain therapies are researched on laboratory animals so that in the end we do not suffer any side effects.

The success of the study could point the way forward

Study result: The heart chip was probably able to remain functional for several weeks. This is also necessary so that the long-term effects of medications can be examined.

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In their study, the scientists proved that their heart chip is suitable for improving or developing new cancer therapies.

By simulating blood flow and mechanical movement of the heart, the researchers also gain deeper insight into the possible effects of chemotherapy, which, according to the researchers, often results in the death of heart cells as a side effect.

We have also published in the past about experiments with human cells and technical devices such as computers. You can find more exciting articles here:

Are you as passionate about technology as author Kevin? Did you know that it is possible to grow human heart tissue? What do you think researchers will do with it in the future? What do you think research will put on chips in the future? Feel free to write us your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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