Monday, March 27, 2017

Scientists turn spinach into a farm for human heart cells

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The result is a safe and potentially ideal bed for growing heart tissue. Existing approaches to generating heart cells, such as 3D printing, aren’t good at replicating the extremely complex network of veins needed to grow cells — spinach already has that. And when cellulose is bio-compatible, you don’t have to worry about hostile interactions between the heart cells and their host.


As is often the case with this kind of research, it’ll be a long while before this method is ready for practical use. If it pans out, though, it could lead to an affordable and eco-friendly of growing replacement tissue for heart attack patients. You could potentially apply this to other body replacements, too — the researchers suggest that wood’s structure might be helpful for generating bone. They’ve already applied this method to parsley, peanut hairy roots and sweet wormwood, so it’s more a question of finding use cases than overcoming technical hurdles.


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