Researchers at Michigan State University have created the first functioning miniature human heart model.
Medical Xpress reported the mini human heart model is complete with all primary heart cell types and a functioning structure of chambers and vascular tissue.
"These mini hearts constitute incredibly powerful models in which to study all kinds of cardiac disorders with a degree of precision unseen before," said Aitor Aguirre, the study's senior author and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at MSU's Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering.
This study, funded by grants from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, appears on the bioRxiv preprint server.
The human heart organoids were created from a novel stem cell framework, according to Medical Xpress.
"Organoids — meaning resembling an organ — are self-assembling 3D cell constructs that recapitulate organ properties and structure to a significant extent," said Yonatan Israeli, the first author of the study.
"This process allows the stem cells to develop, basically as they would in an embryo, into the various cell types and structures present in the heart. We give the cells the instructions and they know what they have to do when all the appropriate conditions are met."
Yahoo reported that the research allows scientists to watch, in real time, the growth process of a fetal human heart. And it said the researchers use the method to model and study congenital heart disease.
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