In 2005, a team of professors and researchers at the University of Virginia began a project to create a research tool that would replicate the biology of the human artery on the bench. Nicole Hastings, Ph.D., then a graduate student, along with Brett R. Blackman, Ph.D., and Brian R. Wamhoff, Ph.D., faculty members, designed a system that combined human primary endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells, which are the main cell types that comprise the human artery.
Most importantly, they exposed the endothelial cells to fluid movements that accurately mimic regional blood flow. This essential stimulus, along with other biophysical conditions, “turns on” the in vivo biology of the cells, thus creating a human surrogate vascular system.
The combination of multiple primary cell types, regional and complex hemodynamics, and biological transport were the core principles they developed in the laboratory and are now the foundational science of HemoShear. “Those were very exciting times for us,” says Dr. Hastings, who is now vp of operations.
HemoShear, founded in 2008, is now partnering with pharmaceutical, medical device, and other biotechnology companies to develop safer and more effective drugs using a unique scientific approach to in vitro based human relevant systems. In traditional drug development processes, early in vitro based experimentation using standard cell culture environments can create confounding data and results that are difficult to interpret. HemoShear says it can translate primary cell culture systems to the human biological condition, unveiling meaningful data for understanding drug-target interactions, mechanisms, and positive and negative output responses.
“HemoShear creates human-relevant systems to accurately replicate the biology of organ systems and diseases. We apply these methods to bridge the gap between traditional cell culture methods and human and animal pathobiology,” says Dr. Blackman, CSO.