Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have grown a mouse embryo with a beating heart in the lab from stem cells, a revolutionary discovery that could pave the way for growing human organs for transplantation.
USA-VA– The grown mouse embryo had a beating heart, and its muscles, blood vessels, intestines and nervous system began to develop. The researchers say that this embryo “represents the most complex model of a mammalian embryo in the laboratory containing many tissues, which were built from stem cells.”
Dr. Kristin Teese, from the University of Virginia’s Department of Cell Biology, explained: “We have come up with a way to direct groups of stem cells to initiate embryonic development. In response to these instructions, the groups develop into embryo-like entities, in a process that summarizes the embryonic steps one by one.”
The team of researchers hopes that this revolutionary step will help to better understand mammals, fight diseases, create new drugs and grow tissues and organs for human transplants.