Israeli researchers are reporting that they have successfully grown patches of cells for heart repair by conducting experiments on rats.
Smadar Cohen, a tissue engineer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, has revealed that the study has basically shown that a fatty apron of tissue called the omentum, which sits over the stomach and intestines, may be the perfect spot to grow patches of cells for heart repair.
The researcher says that this achievement may one day help solve a major problem that arises when it comes to repairing the damage using tissue grown in the lab, which does not always integrate well into the body.
During the study, Cohen and colleagues seeded rat cardiac cells onto scaffolds that they transplanted into the omentums of eight rats, reports New Scientist magazine.
After a week of growth, they transplanted the patches of heart tissue into the damaged hearts of another set of rats.
Writing about their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers revealed that the patches integrated well with existing heart cells and beat in time, unlike those grown in the lab.
The researchers attribute the success to the omentum-grown cells developing a denser, more mature set of blood vessels.
They believe that the same trick may one day also work in people, although some may object to having two transplants.