Feedsee Heart : Growing Heart Muscle : Bioengineered cells generate pulsating forces and react more like real muscle than before

University of Michigan researchers have reported significant progress in growing bioengineered heart muscle with organized cells, capable of generating pulsating forces and reacting to stimulation more like real muscle than ever before. The three-dimensional tissue was grown using a technique that is faster than others tried in recent years, but still yields tissue with significantly better properties. The approach uses a fibrin gel to support rat cardiac cells temporarily, before the fibrin breaks down as the cells organize into tissue. The team detailed its achievement in a paper published online in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. While still years away from use as a human heart treatment, or as a testing ground for new cardiovascular drugs, the researchers say their results should help accelerate progress toward those goals. The Artificial Heart Laboratory is part of the Section of Cardiac Surgery, and draws its strength from the fact that it includes bioengineers, cell biologists and heart surgeons - a multidisciplinary group that can tackle both the technical and clinical hurdles in the field of engineering heart muscle.