TARA Scientific Co-Founders Grow Adult-Like Heart Tissue in Just Four Weeks

April 5, 2018 | News

TARA Scientific Co-Founders Grow Adult-Like Heart Tissue in Just Four Weeks

NEW YORK, (PR Newswire) - TARA Biosystems, Inc., a company offering physiologically relevant “heart-on-a-chip” tissue models for drug discovery and development applications, is pleased to announce the publication of a landmark cardiac tissue maturation study, in the preeminent scientific journal Nature, led by two of TARA’s scientific co-founders, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D. and Kacey Ronaldson-Bouchard, Ph.D. TARA Biosystems offers bioanalytical testing services on its human stem cell-derived cardiac tissue platform. The company’s Biowire™ II platform enables the maturation of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) into tissues that achieve an adult-like phenotype. These physiologically-relevant in vitro models facilitate early cardiac risk assessment of drug discovery candidates and accelerate discovery efforts for novel heart medicines via disease modeling and phenotypic screening capabilities. The paper, authored by Ronaldson-Bouchard et al. and entitled “Advanced maturation of human cardiac tissue grown from pluripotent stem cells,” was published online in Nature on April 4, 2018 and can be accessed online here. The authors describe methods and outcomes of a 4-week tissue maturation protocol, which represents a significant reduction in the duration of maturation regimens reported to-date. Additionally, the resultant tissues displayed the structural and functional features of mature human heart muscle not previously reported in the literature. Specifically, the tissues displayed adult-like gene expression profiles, extensive registers of sarcomeres, physiologic sarcomere length (2.2 µm) and density of mitochondria (30%), the presence of transverse tubules (t-tubules), oxidative metabolism, positive force-frequency relationship, and functional calcium handling. “This study sets the bar for engineered human cardiac tissue and brings us ever closer to being able to truly recapitulate the function and physiology of the human heart in vitro,” said Michael P. Graziano, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of TARA Biosystems. “The work has important implications for the discovery and development of novel medicines for heart failure, where discovery efforts and advances have been held back due to the lack of relevant models. We congratulate our scientific colleagues on their remarkable achievements.”

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As a result, currently 8 out of 9 drugs tested for cardiotoxicity fail in clinical trials, after spending significant time.

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