21 September 2016

In an IMB laboratory, human heart cells grown from stem cells can be seen without the aid of a microscope beating in a petri dish.

In the future, these new heart cells could be transplanted into patients with heart disease to replace damaged sections of their hearts.

Related media coverage: Stem cells grow heart tissue in breakthrough research (via Brisbane Times)

Thanks to a $1.3 million state government research grant, IMB’s Dr Nathan Palpant has partnered with Professor John Fraser at The Prince Charles Hospital to develop next generation medical treatments to tackle heart disease, which claims the life of one Australian every 12 minutes.

"We can differentiate human stem cells into nearly any cell type in the body," Dr Palpant said.

"This is a fantastic advancement for research into human diseases and therapies. We can now create cells to regenerate and repair hearts and study diseases that occur as the heart develops.”

The team aims to grow billions of human heart cells – the scale of work needed to develop therapeutics for the future.

This program will enable Queensland-based research to contribute substantially toward ongoing efforts in the US and Europe to develop stem cell therapeutics for cardio-respiratory diseases.

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