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Cell models for human hearts wanted

A consortium of two universities, two applied research institutes and a research-based pharmaceutical company is looking for innovative cellular models of the human heart with the aim of developing better methods for drug testing.

The anatomical composition of the heart is known in great detail. However, the biochemical reactions in and between heart cells are still to a large extent unknown. A consortium consisting of five research groups from science and industry, including the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen in Reutlingen, has commenced a cooperative project with the aim of producing and investigating artificial tissue cultures from human heart cells in greater detail. Although laboratory cultures have not previously been available, the scientists believe that they could be useful as heart models, for example to speed up the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and the assessment of the drugs’ efficacy and patient tolerability.

The tissue-like test systems will be produced from heart tissue obtained during surgical interventions and also from stem cells. If it proves possible to successfully cultivate the tissue-like cell structures, it is believed that these heart models will lead to a reduction in the number of animal experiments, as preclinical investigations will be carried out using the models rather than animals.

Besides the NMI, the following institutes are involved in the project: the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Lübeck, the Institute of Neurophysiology at the University of Cologne, the Fraunhofer Institute for Marine Biotechnology in Lübeck as well as the research-based pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis. The cooperative project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the “Innovation in Drug Development” programme, amounting to a total of 2.65 million euros in funding over three years.

Source: NMI - 14.03.2008 (P)
Further information:
Prof. Elke Guenther
Head of Cell Biology
Department of Electrophysiology
Markwiesenstr. 55
72770 Reutlingen
Tel.: +49 (0)7121-5153054
E-mail: guenther@nmi.de
Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/cell-models-for-human-hearts-wanted