Spinach used to grow beating heart tissue
Scientists have used spinach leaves to grow heart cells able to beat like a normal human heart on the spinach.
Published online this week by Biomaterials journal, the American scientists took the green colour out of the spinach, leaving a clear leaf that exposed the “veins” in the spinach.
Human heart tissue was then put into the spinach where clusters beat for up to three weeks.
“The idea here is we have this very thin flat piece of tissue that already has that vascular network in there so we should be able to potentially stack up multiple leaves and create a piece of cardiac tissue,” said one of the researchers, Joshua Gershlak.
The scientists said the research could one day lead to a possible solution for the lack of organ donors.
“We really believe that this scaffold has the capability to help treat patients,” the researchers said.
“It is still a long way but to think about combining the technology that farmers have been using for thousands of years and growing different crops in the field to be able to take something as simple as spinach leaf which is an abundant plant and actually turned that into a tissue that has potential for blood to flow through it is really very exciting,” they said.