Some of our therapy drugs i.e. Rituxan & Ibrutinib, have been associated with cardiac side effects for some patients. It would be interesting to know how sensitive this simulated heart model would be in testing CLL drugs. Not only is CLL expressed very differently - almost uniquely in each patient, but there appears to be a serious lack of knowledge or techniques to predict how well or poorly any individual might respond to a given drug. I suspect that this model is not the ultimate say as to who might develop A-Fib or arrhythmias on Ibrutinib or any other CLL therapeutic but it is a step in the right direction for pre-initiation of therapy testing to determine many damaging side effects of the drugs meant to help us. This model is a good sign that we might hope to see this type of technology become a part of individualized medicine in the future.
We all have unique vulnerabilities, think of tendon rupture with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, that can disable a subset of patients yet that class of antibiotic can be a lifesaver for a majority of patients. Wouldn’t it be great to know ahead of time which side of the fence you are on before being given a drug?