In vitro 3D engineered heart tissue that monitors drug-induced cardiotoxicity
Cardiotoxicity is a serious clinical condition that occurs as a result of using pharmaceutical agents such as antibiotics, which can have harmful effects on the heart, ultimately compromising its functional capacity. The left ventricle’s ability to contract is impaired, which can lead to heart failure – a severe clinical outcome. However, a joint team of researchers from POSTECH and the Georgia Institute of Technology has made significant progress in creating an engineered heart model via 3D printing technology that enables early monitoring of drug-induced cardiotoxicity.
Creating a Biohybrid 3D-Printed Heart Model
Led by Professor Jinah Jang, the team used biohybrid 3D printing to engineer a heart model that surpasses traditional models. The team developed a platform integrating engineered heart tissue (EHT) with a bipillar-grafted strain gauge (BPSG) sensor, which enables in vitro monitoring of drug-induced cardiotoxicity.
The tissue-sensor platform developed by the research team facilitates the quantitative measurement of contractile force with a relatively small volume of electrical readout, thus enabling long-term and continuous monitoring. This technique can advance drug development, representing a critical step toward the manufacturing of the next-generation tissue-sensor platform.
Monitoring Cardiotoxicity via a Wireless Device
The team achieved continuous monitoring of EHT contractions by leveraging this platform with a multichannel wireless device. The research findings detailing wireless, real-time, and continuous monitoring of drug-induced cardiotoxicity have been featured in the latest issue of Advanced Materials – one of the most prestigious journals renowned for its coverage of material engineering.
Traditional in vitro monitoring systems for heart models’ contraction have had limitations in their ability to process large volumes of image-based data with high temporal resolution over prolonged periods. However, the tissue-sensor platform developed by the research team facilitates the quantitative measurement of contractile force with a relatively small volume of electrical readout, thus enabling long-term and continuous monitoring.
Implications for Drug Development
Drug-induced cardiotoxicity is considered a major challenge in the early stages of drug development. While various in vitro platforms exist for preclinical cardiotoxicity testing, most conventional heart models lack physiological relevance and are less predictive of the cardiotoxic potential of drugs. Recently, 3D-engineered heart tissue (EHT) has been introduced as a promising alternative that emulates the heart’s physiological contraction and has been used by several researchers in their study of myocardial contraction and pharmacological effects. However, the absence of a suitable platform for continuous in vitro monitoring to test acute and chronic pharmacological effects remains an impediment.
The biohybrid 3D printing technique used to create the tissue-sensor platform has the potential to revolutionize drug development. With the ability to continuously monitor drug-induced cardiotoxicity in vitro, this innovative technology represents a critical step toward the manufacturing of next-generation tissue-sensor platforms. This development has the potential to lead to the creation of safer pharmaceuticals, thus benefiting patients worldwide.
The creation of an engineered heart model via 3D printing technology that enables early monitoring of drug-induced cardiotoxicity is a remarkable breakthrough in the field of drug development. The tissue-sensor platform developed by the research team at POSTECH and Georgia Tech enables long-term and continuous monitoring, revolutionizing the traditional in vitro monitoring systems for heart models’ contraction. This development has the potential to lead to the creation of safer pharmaceuticals, benefiting patients worldwide.