The heart is the centre of our circulation system.
The heart pumps blood throughout our body to bring oxygen and vital nutrients to all the other parts of the body. While the cardiac muscle cells of the heart divide during development, they do not divide after birth. Hence, when damaged, the heart will scar rather than regenerating, causing an irreversible decline in function.
Researchers at reNEW are world leaders in the generation of human heart tissues from pluripotent stem cells. Using these stem cell-derived heart models, they are able to investigate how the heart responds to damage and screen for approaches to enable the heart to regenerate after injury. They are also able to engineer large sheets of human heart tissue potentially to augment organ function upon heart failure. Finally, they use stem cell-derived models of the heart to understand how drugs can damage the heart and how such damage may be prevented by avoiding cardiotoxic compounds.