Viviana Meraviglia wins EPAA 3Rs science prize for 3D mini hearts

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Postdoc Viviana Meraviglia in the Dept of Anatomy and Embryology of LUMC has been awarded the 3Rs science prize 2020 of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) for her work using 3D mini hearts from human induced pluripotent stem cells. This was announced at the EPAA annual conference, on 10 November 2020.

Meraviglia works in Christine Mummery's group with Milena Bellin and Valeria Orlova.

"We make the human 3D mini hearts using the three main cardiac cell types derived from stem cells: cardiomyocytes (heart cells), fibroblasts (connective tissue) and endothelial cells (blood vessel cells) essentially all from the same person. The EPAA thought this represents an innovative and unique in vitro model of the human heart that is well suited for studying disease, drug responses and cardiotoxicity," says Meraviglia.

"They were excited by my work on a disease called arrhythmic cardiomyopathy in which we showed that our mini hearts would beat abnormally when only the cardiac fibroblasts carried the disease mutation. Since this is very similar to how the disease manifests in patients we think the model will be very useful as a new human preclinical model that could support evaluation of cardiotoxic effects and in this sense provide an alternative to some in vivo experiments."

Source: LUMC, EPAA

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