By Tim Sandle
Mar 8, 2013 in Science
Scientists have been able to turn embryonic stem cells, by synthesizing substances which control the differentiation process, into heart cells.
Earlier this month, the Digital Journal highlighted how scientists based at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells within a laboratory. In a related story, a different research group have used stem cells to create heart cells.
For this study, Pan European Networks explains, the research group used a new triazine derivative to turn stem cells into heart cells. In many cases the mechanisms influencing the differentiation of stem cells into tissues are complex and it has been difficult for scientists to achieve different types of cell creation.
The scientists hope to use the new development for the basis of a drug that could assist with cellular regeneration in relation to different medical conditions and to overcome organ rejection in surgery (by using the patient’s own DNA).
Describing this, the lead researcher, Professor Marko Mihovilovic (Vienna University of Technology), said: “Our vision is to take cells which are easy to extract, such as skin cells, and to treat them with a cocktail of different chemicals, creating new tissue. Our modular synthetic strategies are a bit like playing with LEGO bricks. A very high degree of complexity can be achieved by assembling very simple building blocks.”
The professor illuminates on the research further, from a separate interview with Discovery: ““At the moment, transplant medicine dominates, but it would be much better to create tissue in the lab, with the patient’s own DNA, so that the danger of tissue rejection is completely eliminated.”