Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Simulated' human heart used to screen drugs

Date:
July 21, 2014
Source:
Coventry University
Summary:
A scientist has developed a pioneering new way -- using samples of beating heart tissue -- to test the effect of drugs on the heart without using human or animal trials. The breakthrough could lead to the lives of hundreds of future patients being saved and the quality of their treatments improved.

This is Dr. Helen Maddock from the Centre for Applied Biological and exercise Sciences at Coventry University.
Credit: Coventry University

A Coventry University scientist has developed a pioneering new way -- using samples of beating heart tissue -- to test the effect of drugs on the heart without using human or animal trials.

The breakthrough is the work of Dr Helen Maddock -- an expert in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology from the University's Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences -- and could lead to the lives of hundreds of future patients being saved and the quality of their treatments improved.

Adverse effects of drugs on the cardiovascular system are a major cause of many medical treatments failing, but heart-related side-effects can often only be detected once a drug is being used on patients in clinical trials -- by which time it is too late.

Dr Maddock's in vitro technique -- which means 'in glass' in reference to it taking place in a laboratory environment rather than in a living organism -- uses a specimen of heart tissue attached to a rig allowing the muscle to be lengthened and shortened whilst being stimulated by an electrical impulse, mimicking the biomechanical performance of cardiac muscle.

Trial drugs can then be added to the tissue to determine whether or not they have an adverse effect on the force of contraction of the muscle (and therefore of the heart), a test that could only previously be performed in vivo -- i.e. on living animals -- often with inconclusive results.

This 'simulated' cardiovascular system -- known as a work-loop assay -- provides the most realistic model of heart muscle dynamics in the world to date, and opens up unprecedented possibilities for identifying negative effects of drugs early and inexpensively -- potentially saving lives and speeding up the development of successful drug treatments.

Dr Maddock has formed a spin-out company -- InoCardia Ltd -- from Coventry University to begin implementing her groundbreaking technique in the pharma industry, and it has already received a quarter of a million pound investment from Warwickshire-based technology investment firm Mercia Fund Management.

Dr Maddock, who spent almost ten years developing the technique, said: "I'm delighted that our research is at a stage where we can confidently say the work-loop assay we've created is the world's only clinically relevant in vitro human model of cardiac contractility. It has the potential to shave years off the development of successful drugs for a range of treatments.

"Both the pharma industry and regulators recognize that existing methods of assessing the contractility of the heart are fraught with problems, so we're incredibly excited to be able to introduce a new way to accurately determine the safety of drugs in respect of the heart without the need to test on humans or animals."

Mark Payton, managing director of Mercia Fund Management, added: "InoCardia benefits from a proprietary approach following many years of investigation by Helen and her team, and offers the potential for early screening of compounds in development without the initial need for extensive animal trials. Through a markedly accelerated drug development process, this will decrease timelines to drug development, and as a consequence greatly reduce the cost of new drug development. The end beneficiary will, of course, be patients receiving novel treatments sooner."

Dr Maddock and InoCardia Ltd are already in discussions with a multinational biopharmaceutical company with a view to applying the assay in industry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Coventry University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Coventry University. "'Simulated' human heart used to screen drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100123.htm>.
Coventry University. (2014, July 21). 'Simulated' human heart used to screen drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100123.htm
Coventry University. "'Simulated' human heart used to screen drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100123.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins