In a remarkable medical invention, scientists have accomplished something that couldn’t even be imagined a few months ago – transforming a spinach leaf into functional human heart tissue.
It can be embedded with vessels and blood and is capable of circulating blood through the vascular system, just like the human heart.
A team of biomedical researchers from Worcestor Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was joined by scientists from Arkansas State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in this incredible breakthrough.
The team stripped the plant cells off the spinach leaf using a detergent. The cellulose and leaf veins left behind were known to be compatible with mammals. Hence, they were seeded with cardiac muscle cells. The muscles began beating after five days.
They key inspiration behind attempting this experiment was the naturally occurring vein system of spinach leaves. Though its functionality is extremely different from human tissues, the pattern of veins in the two is quite similar. Researchers are hopeful of using this technique to treat patients of heart diseases by developing healthy heart muscles.
Owing to a dearth of organ donors and an abundance of plants, this innovation could prove to be a quantum leap.