According to a paper published in Circulation Research, researchers from Harvard Medical faculty and Massachusetts General Hospital have managed to sucessfuly grown a human heart using adult skin cells.
The finding can be of immense help for the 4,000 Americans currently awaiting heart transplant surgery, and the over 25 million people who suffer heart failure every year.
In the US, approximately 2,500 of those 4,000 individuals in line for heart transplant actually get them, signaling a deficit that studies such as this may have the ability to tackle.
In line with this study, the scientists treated 73 donor hearts deemed unfit for transplantation, stripped cells away on these hearts and substituted them with skin cells which using messenger RNA — was turned to pluripotent stem cells, the two kind of cells which may be ‘converted’ to any component of the body.
After inducing the stem cells to grow into two kinds of cardiac cells, the researchers subsequently mimicked the surroundings that a human heart would normally grow inside and implanted the cardiac cells using a nutrient solution which facilitated growth.
Two weeks later, the scientists facilitated electrical shock to the hearts, and the hearts began beating. According to Popular Science such growth of heart is compared to “building a house with the frame already constructed.”
“To show that functional myocardial tissue of human scale can be built on this platform, we then partially recellularized human whole-heart scaffolds with human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes,” the team of scientists wrote in their journal. “Under biomimetic culture, the seeded constructs developed force-generating human myocardial tissue and showed electrical conductivity, left ventricular pressure development, and metabolic function.”
Social media was quick to celebrate as one user wrote: “Living in the future is awesome.”