Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

In mice, Israeli scientists have apparently created a “miniature heart” using embryonic stem cells. If the story is right, the stem cells were morphed into the building blocks of heart cells, after which the scientists “found a way of persuading the different types of cell which form the heart to grow and work together. The result was a tiny piece of heart muscle—less than one centimetre square—but threaded with minute blood vessels and closely resembling the complex tissue of the human heart. While stem cells have been coaxed into heart tissue before, this is the first time scientists have succeeded in creating tissue that contains all the vital cells.” This has yet to be done in human tissues and the issue of tissue rejection would still have to be contended with. But if this anecdotal report is verified, it is a major scientific achievement. (Remember, the ESCR/cloning debate is not a scientific controversy. It is a dispute over ethics.)

A similar achievement has been made with umbilical cord blood stem cells to make a miniature liver.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles