VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA—Novoheart recently announced the publication of a comprehensive study of the world’s first human heart-in-a-jar, in the bioengineering journal Biomaterials. The peer-reviewed paper showcases the human heart-in-a-jar’s unique ability to recapitulate multiple important and complex biological properties of the native human heart, including clinically recognized responses to a variety of pharmacological compounds and interventions.
The human ventricular cardiac organoid chamber (hvCOC), also known as “human heart-in-a-jar,” is a three-dimensional, bioengineered miniature cardiac pump, representing a sophisticated bio-artificial heart construct available from Novoheart's MyHeart Platform. In this publication, the hvCOC is comprehensively characterized in detail, including its ability to simulate key characteristics and behaviors of the native human heart at the genetic, electrical and mechanical levels. As a result of its unique cardiomimetic configuration, the hvCOC also reproduces responses to a range of clinically tested therapeutics, including drug classes to which other existing stem cell-derived cell and tissue models are notoriously insensitive.
The publication in Biomaterials is the result of extensive research led by Novoheart’s scientific co-founders, CEO Ronald Li and CSO Kevin Costa, in collaboration with a multinational team of investigators from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet (whose Nobel Assembly selects and awards Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine), the University of Hong Kong and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan. Part of the study was performed under an industry-academia collaboration jointly funded by Novoheart and the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of the Hong Kong government.
“We are pleased to share with the scientific community the unique features of our hvCOC, including the ability to recapitulate pressure-volume and electrophysiological characteristics of the heart, and how it compares to other existing human cardiac cell and tissue models,” said Dr. Kevin Costa, CSO of Novoheart. “The peer-reviewed article serves as a testimony to the quality and importance of the research, which is the fundamental groundwork behind the ‘human heart-in-a-jar’ model.”
Novoheart's website says their hvCOC model is “the ONLY macroscopic human cardiac tissue model on the market that is capable of mimicking fluid pumping similar to [the] natural heart. The hvCOC model aims to better predict the effects of new pharmaceutical compounds on the human heart early in the development process before clinical trials. No other in vitro tissue models recapitulate the natural pumping function of the human heart like Novoheart's hvCOC.”
The website says the benefits of the hvCOC model include: 3D tissue-engineered model mimicking pumping of a cardiac chamber; enhanced cellular maturation; clinically relevant functional readouts, such as PV loop analysis, developed pressure, cardiac output and ejection fraction; and 3D optical mapping for arrhythmogenicity assay. The model can be used for cardiac toxicity screening, disease modeling, drug discovery, regenerative studies, and functional assessment.
“This is an exciting milestone for the Company and we anticipate that the publication of this study will lead to significant additional interest from pharmaceutical partners in the MyHeart Platform,” said Dr. Ronald Li, CEO of Novoheart. “In an industry where drug attrition and withdrawals are most commonly associated with cardiotoxicity, the ‘human heart-in-a-jar’ represents an unprecedented high-fidelity model of the human heart outside of the body, offering a new and compelling alternative to traditional animal models as litmus tests for selecting the best drug candidates to advance into clinical trials.”
Novoheart's publication, entitled “Bioengineering an electro-mechanically functional miniature ventricular heart chamber from human pluripotent stem cells,” can be accessed online here.