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Scientists Use Stem Cells To Regenerate the External Layer of a Human Heart ( 51

schwit1 quotes a report from Indy100: A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue. The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells. Then for two weeks they infused the hearts with a nutrient solution, allowing them to develop under the same circumstances a heart would grow inside a human body. After the two week period, the hearts contained well-structured tissue, which appeared similar to that contained in developing human hearts. When shocked with electricity, they started beating. This represents the closest that medical researchers have come to growing an entire beating human heart.
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Scientists Use Stem Cells To Regenerate the External Layer of a Human Heart

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2017 @08:07AM (#53652905)

    FYI, all cells use an intermediate form of nucleic acid (i.e., mRNA) to produce proteins. mRNA is transcribed from the host cell DNA and translated to construct protein(s) using ribosomes (yet another form of nucleic acid: rRNA).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The hyperlink in the summary should be modified to the following:

    The summary link leads to a summary of a different news article at Popular Science (above link). The Popular Science article provides sufficient information to understand the techniques used to produce stem cells to regrow cardiac tissue.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    PopSci had this story nearly a year ago ... back in March 2016

  • Has the baby been born that will live to it's 200th birthday?

  • if your girlfriend dumps you ... stem cell technology still has a long way to go ...

  • by drunken_boxer777 ( 985820 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @10:57AM (#53653521)

    (understand the fucking article)

    The summary is somewhat inaccurate and oversimplified (this is Slashdot, of course).

    The authors took donor hearts and removed all the cardiac cells, leaving only the extracellular matrix, which is the scaffolding that cells reside in. They then created stem cells from skin cells, not via a technique called "messenger RNA" (which is a type of biological molecule and not a technique), but by reprogramming the skin cells by providing synthetic messenger RNAs that instruct the cells to make 5 proteins that cause a "reversal" to a stem cell-like state. These new stem cells were instructed to become cardiac cells, which spontaneously exhibited "a heart beat", and then seeded onto slices of the cardiac matrix from a donor heart, and even a full heart. The cells contracted in unison, and could be "paced" by a "pacemaker".

    Limitations of this approach are that the you need a human heart to start with (until a scaffold could be 3D printed, for example), cells did not fully differentiate into mature heart muscle cells, don't seem to maintain this fate past a certain time frame, didn't develop into all cell types needed for a functioning heart, and contracted with only a fraction of the force that a normal human heart does. But damn, the bioreactor with "grown" heart is incredible to behold (figure 6E), and this appears to be an interesting step forward to lab grown organs.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      As I recall these kinds of approaches also have problems with different cell types, i.e. a heart grown on a matrix isn't going to work very well without arteries.

      I don't think the fact that you start with an existing heart is a very big deal. As I understand it most donated hearts can't be transplanted for one reason or another and could be used if this technique was made to work.

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