Cardiac modeling gets a boost

TARA Biosystems demonstrates in-vitro cardiac biology model mimics human drug response

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NEW YORK—TARA Biosystems has reported results from a study—conducted in collaboration with Amgen—demonstrating the ability of its in-vitro human cardiac models to reproduce drug responses similar to those observed in humans. Appearing in the Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, TARA says these findings further support the use of its in-vitro human cardiac models “as a robust, translational platform for the evaluation of new medicines.”
The paper describes a validation study in which TARA’s in-vitro human cardiac tissues were treated, in a blinded fashion, with eight drugs from several classes of therapeutic agents (specifically, inotropes) known to increase the strength of cardiac muscle contraction. The results demonstrated that the contractile response of the treated tissues were consistent with the response observed in humans.
One of the major challenges of cardiac drug development has been the lack of predictive high-throughput models for compound testing. In-vivo animal-based disease models often cannot recapitulate the human phenotype due to substantial species differences. Primary cells from patients are also limited, particularly for hard-to-access cells, such as those from human cardiac tissue. And, while induced pluripotent stem cells are a promising strategy to address scalability, their utility has been limited by their functional immaturity and coincident lack of response to many drugs in clinical use. TARA’s human cardiac tissues, engineered utilizing TARA’s Biowire II platform, faithfully exhibit key aspects of human cardiac physiology, according to the company.
“This study demonstrates the translational utility of TARA’s human-based platform in evaluating the safety and efficacy of new therapies early in discovery,” said Dr. Michael P. Graziano, chief scientific officer of TARA Biosystems.
Building on the published work, TARA continues to extend its capabilities across a range of genetic and drug-induced disease models and increasing the number of integrated endpoint measurements. More than 30 pharmaceutical and biotech companies are working with TARA to assess cardiac risk and investigate novel cardiac disease models for heart failure drug discovery.

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