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LUMC researchers measure how the heart beats in a petri dish

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Researchers at Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), partner of hDMT, have for the first time succeeded in measuring the three most important physical features of a beating cardiac cell: contraction, electrical action potential and calcium flux, simultaneously in the laboratory. Taken together, these properties cause the cardiac cell to beat, even outside the body in a petri dish. The ability to do so is essential for testing the effect of new drugs on the heart, for example.

The research was led by chair of hDMT Prof. Christine Mummery of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology. Engineer and PhD student Berend van Meer worked with researcher Leon Tertoolen to develop optical equipment and an algorithm that can accurately measure and analyse the three physical features of a beating cardiac cell simultaneously. The researchers describe their method in Nature Communications.

'The advantage of this new method - which can also be used in heart-on-chip models - is that, on top of being able to better predict what effects drugs will have on the heart in the human body, we can also see how these effects come about,' Van Meer explains. The researchers have shown that measuring only one or even two of the physical features significantly impairs the predictive value of the tests.

Source: LUMC news

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