Following the dots – versatile and modular approach for engineering and analyzing three-dimensional cardiac tissues
On January 27th 2023 José Manuel Rivera-Arbeláez successfully defended his thesis, entitled: ‘Following the dots – versatile and modular approach for engineering and analyzing three-dimensional cardiac tissues’ at the University of Twente. His research was performed under the supervision of prof.dr.ir. A. van den Berg and prof.dr.ir. L.I. Segerink from the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and prof.dr. P.C.J.J. Passier and dr. M. Catarino Ribeiro from the faculty of Science and Technology and River BioMedics.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death and a major contributor to disability worldwide. Epidemiologic predictions suggest that more than 70% of the population have multiple risk factors for CVDs, associated with unhealthy lifestyle in combination with genetic predisposition. In addition, there is an economical burden associated to CVDs that is expected to be of €950 million by 2030. Benefits from new drug compounds to prevent or cure CVDs are not expected soon as the process of drug development is costly and takes on average more than 10 years. Moreover, from those components that reached the market only a subgroup of the targeted patients will benefit, as the drug response is also affected by gender and ethnicity. This is amongst others caused by the large translation gap between the current models used during the pre-clinical phase and human physiology. This highlights the need of alternatives technologies during the drug development pipeline. This thesis aims to develop a cardiac in vitro platform that allows the generation and assessment of functional cardiac tissues that resemble the contractile behavior of the human heart, as alternative pre-clinical model for use in drug development.