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National Heart Centre Singapore develops world's first human heart cell model
Date:10/25/2012

  • Heart cells from patients with inherited heart muscle disease can now be studied in a petri dish without risk to patients, including the possibility of testing new treatments
  • Experiments performed on the cells show that the heart cell model matches that of the clinical features of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), an inherited heart muscle disease associated with sudden cardiac death
  • Landmark study published in European Heart Journal, a top ranking international peer reviewed journal

Researchers at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) have successfully created a human heart cell model of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), an inherited heart muscle disorder which puts one at high risk of developing life-threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. The NHCS research team discovered that key characteristics of the disease, such as abnormal "fatty changes" and altered distribution of proteins involved in cell-cell connections (called desmosomal proteins) are reproduced in the heart cells. This novel cellular model for studying the disease could help to improve understanding on how these mutations lead to arrhythmias and clinical manifestations of ARVC. The study, the first of its kind in the world, was published in the European Heart Journal, a top ranking international peer-reviewed journal, in July 2012.

The human heart cell model was developed using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology which converts skin samples from an ARVC patient into heart muscle cells on a petri dish outside the body. This technique is based on the revolutionary iPSC technology of transforming skin cells into stem cells, developed by Professor Shinya Yamanaka, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine. The NHCS research team has taken a step further by developing a key clinical application of the iPSC technology by replicating one's own hea
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Contact: Jessica Koh
jessica.koh.l.c@nhcs.com.sg
65-643-67924
SingHealth
Source:Eurekalert

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