The Heart of Hope
Cells of human heart muscle grown by the Duke-NUS Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme in Singapore mark a milestone in the possible use of human embryonic stem cells for regenerative medicine. Pluripotent human embryonic stem cells were grown on a matrix of human proteins called laminin that surround the cells in the embryo. When placed on a second set of laminins that surround heart muscle cells, the stem cells were coaxed into becoming a population of living, beating heart cells. Research fellow Dr. Lynn Yap and Professor Karl Tryggvason hope this process can produce large quantities of cells to repair damaged hearts because it doesn't rely on non-human proteins, making it suitable for use in patients.