An Indian-origin scientist with the University of California (UC) at Berkeley has helped grow a viable, pulsating heart on a microchip.
Scientists can predict if a certain medication will have an adverse effect or how much dosage a patient needs, with the help of tissue created from stem cells.
AdvertisementResearchers say that if this method works, it will replace animal models that do not mimic human responses. "Many times doctors and researchers fail to predict a response to a certain drug or medicine because of the inaccuracy of the models used, like mice, that don't have the same reactions as human tissue," Anurag Mathur, lead author of the study and post doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The tiny heart replicated under laboratory environment, has hardly the width of a human hair. The organ was created with human-induced pluripotent stem cells that can form many different types of tissues. These cells, once tricked into forming heart tissue, were grown around a special silicon microchip with cell and media channels that mimicked the heart's blood vessels.
Researchers could then make the heart beat and work for up to a month, feeding this bionic heart a mix of nutrients.
Drug screening using this device could not only save lives, but also millions of dollars due to the high cost of calculating the approximate dose needed for patients with heart conditions.
The study was published by the journal Scientific Reports.