The engineering of 3-dimensional (3D) heart muscles has undergone exciting progress for the past decade. Profound advances in human stem cell biology and technology, tissue engineering and material sciences, as well as prevascularization and in vitro assay technologies make the first clinical application of engineered cardiac tissues a realistic option and predict that cardiac tissue engineering techniques will find widespread use in the preclinical research and drug development in the near future. Tasks that need to be solved for this purpose include standardization of human myocyte production protocols, establishment of simple methods for the in vitro vascularization of 3D constructs and better maturation of myocytes, and, finally, thorough definition of the predictive value of these methods for preclinical safety pharmacology. The present article gives an overview of the present state of the art, bottlenecks, and perspectives of cardiac tissue engineering for cardiac repair and in vitro testing.
Keywords: drug toxicity; guided tissue regeneration; heart disease; myocardium; organ culture techniques; organoids; pluripotent stem cells.