Scientists have figured out how to literally build a beating human heart muscle onto a spinach leaf. This is not science fiction - it's science fact!
Believe it or not, graduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts have discovered that plant veins can be used to replicate the way blood moves through human tissue.
The scientists remove a spinach leaf's plant cells until all that is left is a frame made of cellulose. In their study published in the journal of Biomaterials, the scientists explain that cellulose is compatible biologically with different medical applications. It can be used to make cartilage tissue, bone tissue and even in wound healing.
Spinach leaf as it looses it's plant cells:
Spinach leaf after red dye is successfully pumped through it's veins.
Since it is difficult to grow the delicate blood vessels that are vital to tissue health, scientists had to come up with another way to create a vascular network.
The spinach leaves act like a frame which they bathe in live human cells. Then human tissue grows on the leaf and surrounds the tiny veins becoming a kind of 'mini heart.'
Watch what happens when they pump fluids into the system:
According to National Geographic: The eventual goal is to be able to replace damaged tissue in patients who have had heart attacks or who have suffered other cardiac issues that prevent their hearts from contracting.
These are exciting times! Would you be comfortable with a 'plant-heart?' Let us know in the comments below!
[h/t National Geographic]