Heart-on-a-chip delivers on the promise of personalized medicine
Field of Study: Engineering/Health Sciences
My research is in the area of organ-on-a-chip engineering. It is my mission to transform the discovery of new drugs, the study of human heart disease and the treatment of individuals with heritable arrhythmias during the term of this Killam Fellowship through development of patient-specific heart tissues.
A significant barrier to cardiac research and the development of new cardiac drug treatments has been a lack of appropriate human cardiac tissue models on which new treatments might be tested. To date, the adult human heart tissue has not been reproduced successfully in the laboratory and animal models, such as mice, do not provide suitable treatment analogues for the human heart.
During her fellowship, Milica Radisic will harvest stem cells from cardiac patients who suffer from a genetic cardiac arrhythmia. Using stem cell technology, she will then differentiate these stem cells into cardiac cells and subsequently force their development into adult human cardiac tissue with an innovative technique using electrical stimulation. These personalized cardiac tissue specimens, a heart-on-a-chip, can then be used to understand and to develop new and personalized cardiac treatments.
[photo credit: NSERC]