Researchers at Harvard and Caltech have bio-engineered an artificial jellyfish using silicone and rat heart cells. The scientists hope the research may help produce drugs to combat heart ailments and, one day lead to the creation of biological replacement organs
PASADENA, CALIFORINA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (KIT PARKER, HARVARD, ET. AL, NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY) -It's called a "Medusiod" - an artificial jellyfish created by scientists using silicone coated with live heart cells from a rat, and brought to life in salt water with a short, sharp electric shock.
A single electrical pulse stimulates continuous movement in the cells for up to one hour, inducing the silicone base to follow suit. The researchers say working with biological materials like this lays the groundwork for future research into human organ replacement.
Today's artificial hearts rely on an external electrical charge to make them beat.
But in future, bio-engineers envision replacement organs capable of generating their own power by absorbing nutrients from the bloodstream, just like real organs and real jellyfish.