Scientists have hit upon a new and reliable way of producing heart
cells in a lab, which would help in the battle against heart
The Monash University-led research shows how human heart cells can
be consistently produced from embryonic stem cells, creating a
potentially inexhaustible source for research and drug discovery.
Researcher David Elliott, along with Andrew Elefanty and Ed
Stanley, both professors at Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Lab,
led the group which worked with a number of institutions in
Australia and overseas to develop the method, reports the journal
"We linked a green fluorescent marker - originally from a
jelly-fish - to a gene found in heart cells, causing them to
glow," Elliott said, according to a Monash statement.
"Using this cell line we have discovered two new cell surface
proteins that we can 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 and study
cardiac cells grown from the stem cells of heart disease patients,
and, 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," Elliott