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Scientists make strides toward fixing infant hearts
Date:2/6/2012

capillaries, Jacot said. When the cells were placed in a bio-scaffold, a framework used for tissue engineering, they did just that.

"Anything we make will need a blood supply," he said. "That's why the first cell type we looked for is one that can form blood vessels. We need to know we can get a capillary network throughout tissue that we can then connect to the infant's blood supply."

Jacot said the cells they tested grow very fast. "We've done calculations to show that, with what we get from amniocentesis, we could more than grow an entire heart by birth," he said. "That would be really tough, but it gives us confidence that we will be able to quickly grow patches of tissue outside of the body that can then be sewn inside."

He said construction of a functional patch is some years away, but his lab is making progress. While embryonic cells have the most potential for such a project, amniotic cells already show signs of an ability to turn into heart muscle, he said.

Co-authors are graduate students Omar Benavides and Jennifer Petsche, both of Rice; and Kenneth Moise Jr. and Anthony Johnson, now professors at the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston with appointments at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and CAREER programs, the Houston-Rice Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med into Grad Program and the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation.


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

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