UW-Madison researchers published a journal Feb. 11 detailing how they genetically reprogrammed the most common type of cells in mammalian connective tissue into master heart cells.
The research team, led by Timothy J. Kamp, said that the technology they created has the possibility of producing a virtually unlimited amount of the three major types of cells in the human heart, according to a university release.
The experiments—which were funded through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium, part of the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association—have only been performed on mice so far.
The researchers said that if the results can be replicated in human cells, then the technology could help with drug discovery and heart diseases.
“With cardiac progenitor cells, you can reduce the risk of tumor formation as they are more committed to the heart lineages and are unlikely to form a tumor,” Kamp said in the release.