Stem cells create tiny beating heart

Stem cells create tiny beating heart

HOW셎 this for a cure for a broken heart? Stem cells have been coaxed to form microscopic beating hearts.
The micro-hearts are around half a millimetre in diameter, and each has its own ventricle-like chamber (Nature Communications, DOI:10.1038/ncomms8413). It셲 the first time that researchers have managed to create threedimensional heart-like organs in the lab from stem cells alone, without using any sort of scaffold to create the organ셲 shape.
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First, Zhen Ma of the University of California at Berkeley and his colleagues used ordinary human skin cells to make their induced pluripotent stem cells. Researchers usually use growth factors alone to persuade such stem cells to form the specialised cells of an organ, but Ma셲 team used an extra trick next.
To mimic the physical forces that usually tell fetal stem cells where they can or can셳 grow, they etched tiny 쐍o-go zones into the wells of the dish to make the cells grow in the right configuration.
쏰ur model is the first step towards building a heart relying on self-organisation of cells, without any external three-dimensional supporting materials, says Ma. The ultimate aim is to build a full-size organ, but the micro-hearts could be used to test the effects of chemicals and drugs on the heart.
Source : New Scientist – July 2015

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