Apparently, progress in medicine keeps going, given that a simple spinach leaf was transformed into a fully functional cardiac tissue.
Large-scale human tissues are still very difficult to create, even if small laboratory samples are promising.
Now, however, researchers have succeeded in resolving perhaps one of the most difficult challenges when it comes to human tissues: creating a vascular system that can deliver blood.
So far, the network of blood vessels can be recreated with new techniques such as 3D printing.
Still, researchers have turned their attention to plants, trying to convert them into tissue.
Although plants and animals have different ways of transporting fluids, the “infrastructure” is quite similar.
Or, at least, that’s what researchers who worked on a study, which will be published in May in the journal Biomaterials, discovered.
To create the cardiac tissue, the team removed all plant cells out of a leaf spinach. Then, they sent fluids and structures similar to our blood cells through the vessels of the leaf.
Eventually, this technique could be used to create multiple layers that will finally compose what we know as a heart muscle.
In turn, the creations will also be used to treat the individuals recovering from a stroke, for example.
“We still have much to do, but, so far, things look very promising,” declared the leading researcher of the study.
The adaptation of some plants is abundantly found in nature because of farmers who cultivated them for thousands of years. And, their use for creating heart tissue can solve a lot of problems that, momentarily, have encountered some limits in this field.