By Wesley J. Smith
Ethical regenerative medical research–specifically, adult and induced pluripotent stem cell research–keep making great strides forward.
Now human skin cells have been transformed into pluripotent stem cells [able to form virtually any cell], and thence into beating heart tissue.
A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue.
The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells. Then for two weeks they infused the hearts with a nutrient solution, allowing them to develop under the same circumstances a heart would grow inside a human body.
After the two week period, the hearts contained well-structured tissue, which appeared similar to that contained in developing human hearts. When shocked with electricity, they started beating.
And waddya know; not a destroyed embryo nor any human cloning in sight.
Good ethics makes good science.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.