The heart is the first organ that an embryo develops. It is also the one that many parents are concerned about. Many expectant mothers are excited to be pregnant, but they are worried at the same time. Doctors and parents have to think about the health of the mother. They also have to think about the health of the developing baby.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that there are certain drugs that are dangerous to take during pregnancy. There are some drugs that were tested on animals that did not show a risk to humans. However, these drugs were not tested on pregnant women, so the risks are not known. Drug safety testing for pregnant women is done as often as other types of drug testing.
Professor Zhen Ma is a biomedical engineering professor. He stated that it can be difficult to tell what drugs are dangerous for pregnant women because they do not know how the drugs will affect the developing baby. Clinical trials are not conducted on humans.
Zhen and his research team work at Syracuse University. They have been using pluripotent stem cells to study stem cell engineering, regenerative medicine and tissue regeneration. These types of cells are able to regenerate other cells in the body because they come from humans.
Pluripotent cells may be used to create heart tissue. However, Zhen’s team believe that they can do a lot more with it. Zhen says that they can use the cells to rebuild the shape of the heart in the lab.
Zhen and his team used stem cells and bio-materials-based cell patterning to create a 3-D tissue model of the heart. The results of their research were published in the March 2018 of the “Nature Protocols” journal. The researchers were able to use a cell differentiation process instead of using heart cells that were already established.
Many pregnant women avoid taking medication during pregnancy in order to protect their baby. However, if the health of the mother suffers, then the baby will also suffer. That is why reliable drug safety testing can benefit both patients and their families.
Zhen stated that drug safety testing allows people to make better decisions. If they determine that the 3-D tissue model is safe, then it should be prescribed to pregnant women. Embryotoxicity is not the only way that the model that Zhen and his team developed can be used. It may also be used to test for drug toxicity in other people.
There are different people who can take the same drug, and they all can have a different reaction from it. That is why using the stem cells of someone else can determine whether it is safe for certain people to take drugs. Doctors typically screen for drug safety by looking at a patient’s health history. They then test a person after taking the drugs for a month or two.
If the 3-D tissue model is used, then doctors will be able to test the effects of multiple drugs at the same time. Doctors will be able to see if a series of drugs will be able to benefit you. All of the drugs will able to be tested at one time, which will be able to help patients and doctors save time.
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