Monday, March 27, 2017
Scientists turned spinach leaves into beating human heart tissue.
Researchers have successfully used spinach leaves to build functioning human heart tissue, complete with veins that can transport blood. To tackle a chronic shortage of donor organs, scientists have been working on growing various tissues and even whole organs in the lab. But culturing a bunch of cells is only part of the solution - they simply won't thrive without a constant blood supply. It's notoriously difficult to build a working network of fine blood vessels (also called vasculature), especially when you get down to capillaries, which are only 5 to 10 micrometres wide. Blood vessels transport the oxygen and nutrients that a lab-grown tissue sample needs to grow and function. Now a team led by scientists from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have successfully turned a spinach leaf into living heart tissue by using the tiny network of veins you'd already find in a plant.continue