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.
Researchers 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