As average life expectancy increases, so does the prevalence of cardiovascular, neurological and neurodegenerative disease. This pending epidemic is of great concern because of the lack of any effective treatments. Preventing or delaying the onset of symptoms is thought to be a better strategy than attempting to reverse them once they occur, but doing this requires more insight into the molecular and genetic nature of the diseases. Since vascular malfunction is a common feature for all of these conditions, it is essential to study how this occurs in humans.
Human vessels on microfluidic chips
Animal models and primary human vascular cells grown on plastic tissue culture dishes have so far failed to capture human vascular disease effectively and have poor predictive value for drug responses. hDMT is therefore pioneering modeling of human vessels on microfluidic chips based on induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS). The resulting devices contain multicellular tubular structures resembling human vessels through which fluid can flow. These can be used for vascular disease research, drug discovery and screening of compounds that affect vessel integrity.
Because vessels are an integral part of all tissues in the human body and play an important role in inflammation and metastasis of cancer, hDMT has given high priority to this research program.