The VPH-CaSE project [link] is focused on state-of-art developments in personalized cardiovascular support in the fields of cardiac diagnostics, imaging, intervention and support. At LifeTec Group we work on improvements on our living heart platform [link] to support these developments even better.

The quest

The PhysioHeart™ is a state-of-the-art ex vivo beating heart model. It is a ‘close to real’ preclinical platform to evaluate pharmacological, cardiological or cardiac surgical treatments, devices or procedures.

At the start of the project, the platform is an acute model currently intended to test procedures that may take up to several hours. Even though the PhysioHeart™ is a ‘matured’ ex vivo cardiac platform, it can still be further improved in some aspects, such as variability in initial performance, and a restricted lifespan of the hearts used in such studies. 

  • VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (lab)
    VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (lab)
    VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (lab)

What was and what will be done

At LifeTec Group, Benjamin Kappler’s research primarily intends to enhance the PhysioHeart™ platform’s usability by obtaining a constant performance and prolonged physiological experimental window of the ex-vivo PhysioHeart. To achieve this goal Benjamin will be using a wide range of medical technologies like clinical chemistry, apheresis, dialysis and immune suppression. Moreover, within the VPH-CaSE project Benjamin aims to influence the tissue physiology to get a controlled and reversible failing heart model, so that failing heart studies and treatment strategies can be more reliable.

  • VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (office)
    VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (office)
    VPH-CaSE researchers at work at LifeTec Group (office)

Marie Skłodowska-Curie

LifeTec Group is taking part in the VPH-CaSE Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN-ETN), a major European research and training consortium in the framework of H2020 program, which was built on the foundations of the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) Initiative.

Besides already being used in many of LifeTec Group’s contract research projects, the PhysioHeart™ platform serves the researchers within the consortium and supports their investigations on novel strategies in the fields of optical strain imaging, LVAD support, ultrasound and surface ECG measurements. 

Benjamin Kappler says:

"Currently, LifeTec Group chiefly uses the PhysioHeart™ platform for research purposes and testing acute interventions. My personal goal within the VPH-CaSE project is to guarantee an initial adequate heart quality and an extended lifetime of the hearts, which would make the platform suitable for studies which require longer experiment times. I have already identified pathological situations during transport and blood perfusion, which are expected to be the leading causes for the variability and the limited lifespan of the PhysioHeart™ model."

Please do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Kappler if you require any further information:

Call at +31 40 298 93 93 or e-mail us
  • ""Working together with LifeTec is a truly amazing experience... Also, working with the PhysioHeart platform is both exciting and a privilege. You can truly test if the methods and equipment you develop would work in a real-life environment.""

    Carlos A. Ledezma
    Marie Curie Trainee / Early Stage Researcher at University College London
  • "The beating heart platform is, quite literally, an eye-opener. It not only offers the possibility to perform heart surgery like in the OR but adds the dimension of visual feedback so that you can see in great detail the result of your surgical skills in a working heart enabling instant training and improving your surgery."

    Drs. Arend de Weger
    Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Leiden University Medical Center
  • "The PhysioHeart platform allowed us to improve the design of our device faster than we could imagine. A far better methodology to obtain significant data and insights compared to animal tests."

    Prof. Roberto Parravicini
  • "The LifeTec team is very knowledgeable and reliable, and provided superb on-the-spot support. These qualities make ex-vivo studies very useful and efficient. I can recommend to everybody who is involved in pre-clinical cardiac research to consider their facilities before spending time and energy on expensive animal studies."

    Alex Kolen
    Senior Scientist

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska Curie grant agreement No 642612.


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