Bioprinted cardiac tissue to be used for toxicology screening for early drug candidates

Bayer (Leverkusen, Germany) and Ramot at Tel Aviv University (Israel) – Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company – have announced a collaboration for the development and validation of a platform for toxicology screening on bioprinted human cardiac tissues.

Bayer and the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at Tel Aviv University plan to screen for toxicity and efficacy by testing pharmaceuticals on 3D-printed in vitro whole human heart models.

The team at the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine have previously bioprinted a vascularized human heart from a patient’s own cells and biological materials and estimates that bioprinted organs may be ready for clinical use in the next 10–15 years.

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The technology can be used in the meantime for dry screening, with the potential for streamlining long, complex and expensive screening protocols, reducing the need for animal trials and potentially even leading to personalized therapeutics.

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Tal Dvir, Professor in the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine explained:

In a Petri dish, all the cells line up in 2D, and it’s only one type of cell. In contrast, our engineered tissues are 3D printed and therefore better resemble real heart tissues. Our printed tissues contain cardiac muscle, blood vessels and the extracellular matrix which connects the different cells biochemically, mechanically, and electrically. Moving away from Petri dishes to 3D-printed tissues could significantly improve drug tests, saving precious time and money with the hope of producing safer and more effective medication.”

Our agreement is just the beginning. Our end goal is to engineer whole human hearts, including all the different chambers, valves, arteries and veins – the best analogue of this complex organ – for an even better toxicological screening process,” Dvir continued.

Professor Dvir’s platform groundbreaking innovation is very promising. We believe that this collaboration with Bayer will support the evaluation and development of new drugs and is a step in building long-term relations with Bayer that we hope will benefit both partners and ultimately patients,” added Ramot at Tel Aviv University CEO, Keren Primor Cohen.

We are excited to start this new collaboration with Tel Aviv University, which will address a new area of early assessment of safety and tolerability of drug candidates. We already have a global network of partners and this new project will enable Bayer to expand its open innovation activities to Israel, which provides a dynamic ecosystem for innovation in biotech and medical research,” concluded Eckhard von Keutz, Head of Translational Sciences at Bayer.


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