Aug. 14 - For the first time, researchers have used human stem cells to power a mouse heart. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine stripped the mouse heart of its own cells and replaced them with stem cells derived human skin tissue. The findings were reported on Wednesday in the Journal ''Nature Communications''. Ben Gruber has more.
This mouse heart is beating again - with cells from a human. Using a process called decellulariztion, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, stripped away the mouse heart's original cells and repopulated the remaining scaffold with stem cells derived from human skin. Before being implanted , the stem cells were reverse engineered to make multipotential cardiovascular progenitor - or MCP - cells, designed to mature into the specialized cells the heart needs to function. The researchers say it took just a few weeks after implantation for the mouse heart to start beating again. Lead researcher Dr. Lei Yang, says his team is now working on producing heart muscle which could replace damaged heart tissue in humans. He says that in the future and with further research, scientists will be able to use a patient's own cells to produce lab-grown replacement organs suitable for transplant.