A 2008 study’s findings resulted in the recent creation of a lab-grown human heart.
According to report this week from Nature Communications via Popsci.com, a team of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine created beating, human heart tissue through the process of decellularization. The process used to create the lab-grown organ was modeled after a 2008 University of Minnesota study that found an aging rat heart could be regenerated by using the cells of newborn rats.
The recent experiment, which instead used a decellularized mouse heart and human stem cells to repopulate the rodent’s organ, was successful. According to the report, scientists used iPS cells reprogrammed to act like embryonic cells in hopes that they would become one of the three types of cells found in the heart, also known as multipotential cardiovascular progenitor (MCP) cells.
A few weeks after its creation, the lab-created heart reached up to 50 beats per minute, a low, yet normal resting heart for an adult human. “Nobody has tried using these MCPs for heart regeneration before," said Lei Yang, an assistant professor of developmental biology at the University of Pittsburgh who hopes to create a human heart tissue "patch" to replace damaged regions of heart attack victims’ organs.
Before the recent experiment was completed, a lead scientist in the 2008 study and director of the Minnesota University’s Center for Cardiovascular Repair, Doris Taylor, told the Minnesota Post she hopes the findings will help make heart transplants more effective in the future.