Transfer of the epicardial-cardiac organotypic culture model to support the ex vivo screening of gene therapy candidates

The key aim of this project is to ensure the uptake our Epicardial/Cardiac-Tissue Slices, (EpCardio-TS) model in two end-user laboratories and achieve the reduction of animal models for the screening of epicardial cell gene therapy targets. This project builds on the team's extensive experience in delivering successful training and supporting the uptake of similar techniques in other laboratories and will ultimately propagate the prominence of EpCardio-TS nationally and internationally.

The recovery capacity of the adult heart after injury is severely limited by the low number of regenerating cells within this tissue. The epicardium, the most external layer of the heart, contains cells able to home to the injured heart muscle and promote its recovery. We developed an innovative model based on thin slices obtained from leftover pig heart tissues that mimics in a dish the behaviour of the epicardium. In this project, we will teach other laboratories working on the epicardium how to prepare and use our model in their own research.

The adoption of our model by our partners will provide an alternative strategy to test their innovative gene therapy ideas, reducing the use of regulated procedures (surgeries) performed on animals. In addition, we will present our model to several other interested laboratories and industrial partners working on similar science projects in order to encourage further uptake and further reduction of animal use.

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Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant

Grant reference number

NC/T001216/1

Award date:

Aug 2019 - Apr 2020

Grant amount

£74,955