Scientists have grown a mouse embryo with a beating heart using stem cells.
STEM CELL researchers in the United States have achieved the seemingly impossible feat of growing a mouse embryo with a beating heart, an astonishing feat that could one day aid in the replacement of organs in humans.
The most complicated lab-grown mammal to date has been produced by a team of scientists from the University of Virginia in the United States. The researchers used embryonic stem cells acquired from mice to give the embryo a small beating heart – and the breakthroughs don’t stop there. Muscles, blood vessels, the stomach, and even the nervous system of the embryo are all developing.
Is this to say that the researchers are on the verge of creating a whole creature in a petri dish? No.
However, the advancements are significant in the field of stem cell research, which seeks to one day generate complete organs from the ground up.
Stem cells are a type of cell that may differentiate into a variety of other types of cells, including brain, tissue, and muscle cells.
The ability to develop tissues and organs in the lab could one day aid burn sufferers and others in desperate need of organ transplants.
In the United Kingdom, for example, stem cell therapy for persons with damaged cardiac tissue has been tested in clinical trials.
“Human organs are made up of many cell types that originate from diverse areas of the growing embryo,” said Bernard Thisse of the University of Virginia’s Department of Cell Biology.
“For example, the gut is made up of cells that create a hollow tube.
“Models of this tube in a dish, known as gut organoids, have been created.”
However, the tube alone is insufficient to build a completely functional gut at this time.
A number of additional elements, such as smooth muscles and nerves that control gut function, are lacking from the tube.
“The only way to have all the variety of cells required for the production of functional organs is to establish systems in which all precursor cells are present,” Dr. Thisses added.
“This is exactly what the embryo-like creatures we created with stem cells provide.”
The researchers devised a method for instructing bundles of stem cells to initiate embryonic development.
According to Christine Thisse, who works at the university’s Department of Cell Biology, the cells go through the process step by step, just like a genuine embryo.
“What is great,” she continued. “Brinkwire Summary News.”