At the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), researchers have developed a novel cardioid — a manufactured organ that mimics the heart. Over the past decade, self-assembling organoids, typically grown from stem cells, have revolutionized biomedical research. Scientists have created lab-grown lung, intestinal, and even brain organoids, but mimicking a beating heart has proven difficult.
Each year, about 18 million people die from heart-related disease and many suffer from congenital defects; in fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. This is partly attributable to the lack of physiological models of the heart, which has led to a major bottleneck in cardiovascular research.
IMBA’s beating heart organoid could have a huge impact on cardiovascular research. “For the first time, our model fully mimics the shape of the human heart chamber,” says Sasha Mendjan, a researcher at IMBA. “We can now further understand heart diseases and how congenital defects, which are malformations of the heart’s shape, form in the human body.”
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