The Ministry of Health and Welfare has selected T&R Biofab, a three-dimensional bio-printing company, for the regenerative medicine project of stem cells, which develops a fusion-convergence technology of pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte for maturation.
The company will conduct studies in collaboration with researchers of the Seoul National University College of Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Sciences led by Professor Choi Seong-woo for 33 months until December 2022. The government will provide 825 million won ($672,000) for the research.
Specifically, the researchers aim to develop an optimal technique for cardiomyocyte maturation that combines 3D cell printing and micro-culture environment control, a method to evaluate the effectiveness and degree of maturation, and a prototype for promoting myocardial cell maturation.
Human cardiomyocyte is the core in the field of cardiac toxicity evaluation and cell therapy for cardiac disease in developing new drugs. Still, there are limits in securing resources for research and development as it does not reproduce in the human body. Techniques for producing stem cells from pluripotent stem cells have been developed to solve the problem.
However, pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte is immature and cause problems such as arrhythmia in preclinical animal experiments for developing a cell therapy or showing a different drug response from adult cardiomyocyte
The project has tasked T&R Biofab with developing and releasing to the market products that promote cardiomyocyte maturation to function similar to that of human adults by integrating various elements and 3D cell printing technologies.
“If we can develop a technique to induce cardiomyocyte maturation, we will also become able to develop a highly functional stem cell treatment and overcome the limitations of the existing treatments that have had a meager therapeutic effect,” said Moon Sung-hwan, a T&R Biofab executive who is in full charge of the research task.
The company also expects it will lead to the development of a toxicological evaluation platform for mature cardiomyocyte-based drugs and in vitro disease modeling and bio-artificial organs, he added.
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