Researchers at Novoheart have created functional mini heart organoids, which are the first of their kind to contain chambers, like those found in fully grown human hearts. This advancement in stem cell engineering will expedite drug trials, which could bring potential cures to those who need them much sooner. Typically, new drugs take many years and require exorbitant resources to bring them to market, but Novoheart’s mini heart organoids look to disrupt the status quo and speed up the development of treatment options. Since these hearts have tissues differentiated from adult stem cells, the organoids behave and react to treatments like real hearts would, which allows researchers to detect and eliminate detrimental side effects long before reaching clinical trials. Additionally, the heart organoids can be used to understand cardiovascular diseases, which affect millions of people around the world.
Researchers at Penn State University, led by Xiaojun Lance Lian, have developed a method to regenerate the surface of a human heart utilizing stem cells. Prior to this advance, researchers could only differentiate stem cells into the middle layer of the heart [myocardium]. By activating the Wnt pathway the researchers were able to direct the stem cells to become the outside layer of the heart [epicardium], bringing researchers one step closer to regenerating an entire heart wall.