Genetic and Tissue Engineering Approaches to Modeling the Mechanics of Human Heart Failure for Drug Discovery

Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018 Sep 19;5:120. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00120. eCollection 2018.


Heart failure is the leading cause of death in the western world and as such, there is a great need for new therapies. Heart failure has a variable presentation in patients and a complex etiology; however, it is fundamentally a condition that affects the mechanics of cardiac contraction, preventing the heart from generating sufficient cardiac output under normal operating pressures. One of the major issues hindering the development of new therapies has been difficulties in developing appropriate in vitro model systems of human heart failure that recapitulate the essential changes in cardiac mechanics seen in the disease. Recent advances in stem cell technologies, genetic engineering, and tissue engineering have the potential to revolutionize our ability to model and study heart failure in vitro. Here, we review how these technologies are being applied to develop personalized models of heart failure and discover novel therapeutics.

Keywords: drug discovery; gene editing; heart failure; high-throughput screening; human induced pluripotent stem cells; length-tension relationship; rare heart disease; tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Review