Turning spinach into tissue that can repair human hearts • Earth.com

Turning spinach into tissue that can repair human hearts

02-16-2018


Today’s Video of the Day comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and features a look at how scientists at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute are working to bioengineer a spinach leaf into a patch that could one day repair a damaged heart.

“We were having lunch one day [and] there was a piece of spinach there. And we noticed that veiny, vascular pattern of the spinach and it reminded us of that vascular system you’d see in a heart,” said Joshua Gershlak, Ph.D. student.  A team of scientists has transformed spinach leaves into beating human heart tissue after first coming up with the idea during their lunch. The researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts wanted to engineer a solution for widespread organ donor shortage.

Researchers have successfully used spinach leaves to build functioning human heart tissue, complete with veins that can transport blood. To tackle a chronic shortage of donor organs, scientists have been working on growing various tissues and even whole organs in the lab. Now a team led by scientists from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have successfully turned a spinach leaf into living heart tissue by using the tiny network of veins you’d already find in a plant.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: National Science Foundation (NSF)

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