The researchers, whose study appears in the on-line edition of the prestigious journal Circulation Research, created the heart tissue in their lab by sorting human embryonic stem cells that turned into heart muscle cells and growing them together with endothelial cells and embryonic fibroplasts. The culture was carried out in three dimensions on a scaffold made of self-destructing sponge material that the researchers also created in their lab. In the future, they will look into the possibility of implanting the engineered cardiac tissue, with the blood vessels improving the implantation of the new tissue and its connection to the blood system.Not only are beating cells produced, but the blood supply to nurture them. The cells used were "pluripotent human embryonic stem cells of the H9.2 clone (passage 30-60) that were grown in the undifferentiated state on top of mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder layer."
The technique is aimed eventually at helping patients who have cardiac insufficiency due to heart attacks.
Of mice and men...Steinbeck would have been proud.