Florian Weinberger, is a physician at the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at the University Heart Center Hamburg. His research is focused on cardiac regeneration. He has worked in the labs of Thomas Eschenhagen (University of Hamburg) and Charles Murry (University of Washington) before transitioning towards Pediatric Cardiology. In his time in the Eschenhagen lab he has studied an approach to regenerate an injured heart with 3-dimensional engineered heart tissue (EHT). He, and his coworkers, have recently shown that human EHTs, derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), can be transplanted on injured hearts and partially remuscularize the scar tissue.
Cardiac repair with human heart muscle patches from induced pluripotent stem cells
Myocardial injury results in a loss of contractile mass which, in the absence of efficient regeneration, is essentially irreversible. Transplantation of human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes might represent a new therapeutical approach. We created human engineered heart tissue (hEHT) strips from human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. In a large series of experiments hEHTs were transplanted onto large defects in a small animal model. One month after transplantation hEHT-transplanted hearts demonstrated human heart muscle grafts within the scar that had partially remuscularized the infarct area and improved left-ventricular function. Taken together, the study provides proof of efficacy of human 3D heart muscle constructs in repairing the injured heart.