Special Editions

Special episode

Fri, 24th Jul 2015

Growing Human Hearts

Human heart seen in a cardiac surgery operating room (c) JC Luis

Growing a human heart from a single cell may seem like science fiction, but scientists at the Gladstone Institute at the University of California San Francisco, have taken a huge step forward, by producing the first three-dimensional, beating, human heart chamber. Previously, it had been possible to produce a two dimensional sheet of beating heart cells, but to really gain an understanding of heart formation in a developing foetus and perhaps more importantly, how drugs given to women during pregnancy may affect this development, a three dimensional structure was needed. By treating stem cells with drugs and then confining them to a very small spherical geometry,  Bruce Conklin and his team have managed to grow their very own three dimensional model of a human heart, as he explains to Tom Crawford...

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