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November 03, 2011

Reliable way of producing heart cells in lab!

SYDNEY: Scientists 've hit upon a new & reliable way of producing heart cells in a laboratory, which would help in the battle against heart diseases. The Monash University lead research shows how human heart cells can be consistently produced from embryonic stem cells, creating a potentially inexhaustible source for research & drug discovery.
Researcher David Elliot, along with Andrew Elefanty & Ed Stanley, both professors at Monash Immunology & Stem Cell Lab, led the group which worked with a number of institutions in Australia & overseas to develop the method, reports the journal Nature Methods.

According to a Monash statement, Elliot said, "We linked a green fluorescent marker -originally from a jelly fish - to a gene found in heart cells, causing them to glow. Using this cell line we 've discovered two new cell surface proteins that we use as 'handles' to allow us to grab only the cardiac cells from cultures containing different cell types. 

"Importantly, we can use these handles to isolate & study cardiac cells grown from the stem cells of heart disease patients, & in this way model heart disease in a dish. This finding is significant because up until now the development of drugs to treat heart disease has been hampered by the lack of a dependable supply of heart cells for experimentation," added Elliot.  

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