Scientists in Harvard university He designed an artificial fish whose flapping tail is powered by cells from a human heart, a pioneering project that has raised hopes for the future of heart research.
The team of Harvard scientists, in collaboration with Emory University, built a “bio-hybrid fish” using paper, plastic, gelatin and two slices of live heart muscle cells, the contractions of which pulled the fish’s tail from side to side and allowed it to swim.
The research team published its results in science magazine Last week, a video released on Twitter by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Sea) showed a small robotic fish flapping its tail and moving for about 20 seconds.
The study represents a hopeful step in the advancement of heart treatments such as Pacemakers. “The benefit of this fish project is that we are still trying to perfect the craft of using living cells as an engineering substrate,” Kate Parker, one of the study’s authors, told The Guardian on Monday.
“The heart is too complex to imitate anatomy,” added Parker, professor of marine sciences. “One must recreate the biophysics in order to obtain the robust behavior required to construct hearts designed for children born with deformed hearts.”
Earlier, Parker was NPR . said That scientists initially weren’t sure how long the school of artificial fish would last, but they swam for more than 100 days.
Parker told the Guardian the team was pleasantly surprised.
“By replicating the biophysics of the heart in this fish, we were operating many processes within these cells that are designed to help them sustain themselves,” he said. “Hopefully, in our next endeavor, we can keep these cells and these tissues alive for even longer than four and a half months.”
The muscle cells in the trial reportedly grew stronger with exercise, a positive indication that this could be implemented in the treatment of heart failure.
was parker Also part previously A Harvard team in 2016 built a small robotic fish that also works with heart cells from a mouse that shrinks when exposed to light.
Despite the latest unusual developments, Parker says there is a lot of work to be done.
“We have learned what we need to learn, we have adapted the inventions to our current efforts to understand pediatric diseases, and we are now moving on to trying to build a more complex 3D marine model using human heart cells and the biophysics of the human heart,” he said.
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