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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 14:26, June 08, 2006
Australian scientists grow heart tissue in lab
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Australian researchers have grown beating heart tissue in the laboratory in a world-first breakthrough that could lead to the creation of entire human organs.

The team of Australian scientists and surgeons said their work aimed to grow organs, including parts of the heart, using patients' own stem cells to avoid the problems of immune system rejection of transplanted organs.

Until now, scientists have only been able to create two-dimensional tissues like skin in the laboratory.

But Wayne Morrison, the lead researcher, said his team had been able to grow three-dimensional tissue that will one day lead to the creation of organs.

"The capacity to create organs has huge ramifications for the thousands of people worldwide whose survival depends on transplants, especially heart patients," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"This tissue engineering breakthrough will bring new hope, confidence, identity and dignity into the future for millions of people of Australia and the world," he said.

Morrison said the work involves using microsurgery to implant a blood vessel in a specially-designed chamber into which stem cells are then inserted and grown into various tissue types.

Researchers from the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery at Melbourne's St Vincent hospital and the University of Melbourne's surgery department have used the technique to successfully grow breast tissue, fat, muscles and pancreas tissue that secretes insulin, he said.

Morrison showed reporters a video of beating heart tissue grown by his team.

"The heart cells are actually beating at their own rhythm," he said.

Source: Shenzhen Daily


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