The GOP’s fatally flawed healthcare bill – Ryancare – my have gone up in smoke, but American ingenuity is still hard at work in an effort to save people’s lives.
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts have come up with an ingenious way to recreate living heart tissue – from spinach leaves.
The potentially revolutionary finding may solve the problem of recreating the tiny networks of blood vessels that branch throughout human tissue. Other methods of attempting to create the intricate pathways have failed until now.
The miraculous composition of plants may be just the fix, however, as they have adapted delicate veins to disperse water and nutrients through their leaf systems. Plants also appear to be capable of delivering blood via their vascular system into the new tissue.
Although plants and animals transport chemicals around the body in very different ways, the networks of capillaries by which they do so are quite similar.
From Daily Mail:
The researchers at WPI, using the spinach leaves, have created enough tissue to grow into a size big enough that it could prove useful for treating injuries, including heart attack patients.
The authors of the study are publishing their findings in research journal Biomaterials in May.
The scientists wrote: “The development of decellularized plants for scaffolding opens up the potential for a new branch of science that investigates the mimicry between plant and animal.”
In their experiment to create the artificial heart, the scientists stripped the plant cells from the spinach leaves, sending fluids and microbeads similar to human blood cells through the spinach vessels. They then “seeded” the human cells which are used to line blood vessels into it.
Glenn Gaudette, professor of biomedical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said: “We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising,” adding “Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”
Maybe Popeye was right after all.