By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism
On Monday, researchers from Japan’s Osaka University announced the successful completion of a first-of-its-kind heart transplant.
Rather than replacing their patient’s entire heart with a new organ, these researchers placed degradable sheets containing heart muscle cells onto the heart’s damaged areas — and if the procedure has the desired effect, it could eventually eliminate the need for some entire heart transplants.
To create the heart muscle cells, the team started with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These are stem cells that researchers create by taking an adult’s cells — often from their skin or blood — and reprogramming them back into their embryonic-like pluripotent state.