At Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers are using a simple webcam to monitor how drugs affect the cardiotoxicity of heart cells. Many drugs are often found to change the beating pattern of cells, creating serious side effects for patients. The technology may provide a cheap way of screening new drugs for cardiotoxicity.
From a Brigham announcement:
They took cardiomyocytes, derived from mouse stem cells, and introduced the cells to different drugs. Using the biosensor, the researchers were able to monitor the beating rate of the cardiomyocytes in real time and detect any drug-induced changes in the beating rates.
The technology provides a simple approach to perform evaluative studies of different drugs effects on cardiac cells.
“This technology could also play a role in personalized medicine,” said Sang Bok Kim, PhD, a Research Fellow in the Renal Division at BWH. “By first extracting somatic cells from patients which can be reprogrammed to stem cells called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Then these iPS cells can be differentiated into cardiac cells to be studied, the biosensor can monitor the cardiac cells as they’re introduced to a medication, providing a glimpse at how the drugs may affect the individual’s heart, and thus shaping the treatment plan for that person.”
Monitoring cardiac cells in the past required using expensive equipment that had a limited measurement area. This low cost (less than $10) biosensor is compatible with conventional equipment but will enable reliable, yet faster and more cost-effective studies.
Abstract in Lab on a Chip: A cell-based biosensor for real-time detection of cardiotoxicity using lensfree imaging
More to the story: Webcam technology used to measure medications’ effects on the heart …