28 Aug 2012

A huge step towards creating an artificial heart  

U.S. scientists announced that the methods of bioengineering created jellyfish, which can swim. It is made from a mixture of silicon and cells from rat heart. While it is not a living organism, the muscular structure of this robot very much resembles that of true jellyfish.

Experts say this “medusoid ,” jellyfish mimic, is a step towards the creation of tissue for analysis and replacement of damaged human hearts. The details were published in July in the magazine Nature Biotechnology. Scientists hope a similar bioengineered technique can one day take cells from an organism and manipulate them to create a variety of useful applications for people such as a pacemaker, which will not need a battery.

Kevin Kit Parker, Harvard University explains that he has spent many years in laboratories in the development of precise model of a human heart. While watching the aquarium in Boston how to spasms forcing jellyfish moves in the water, he noticed how much it resembles the rhythm of the heart muscle.

His team contacted researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), both groups set out to study how creating jellyfish jet thrust – the complex structure of muscle contraction and relaxation of body fluid dynamics says “Wall Street Journal”.

Then they used a silicone polymer to build a centimeter long jellyfish, consisting of 8 limbs. The heart muscle cells of the rat to match the architecture of most jellyfish were made on the membrane. The robot, named “medusoid “, was released in salt water that transmits electric current.

When scientists began to change the voltage in the liquid silicone diaphragm muscle began to contract in synchronous motion. Now engineers want to create artificial jellyfish that feeds on itself and the way muscle contractions can be triggered from inside the robot itself, rather than external source.

The first “medusoid” perform simple movements cannot maneuver and turn around. Scientists believe they may be able to change this, but to do so they will need to use different types of cells, with which the creature will “feel” their environment and “independently decide” to move to a different behavior. Kevin Kit Parker stated that it was very likely that first the pharmaceutical companies will be interested in the outcome. “I can inject your medicine for the heart in such a jellyfish and answer whether it will work in humans or not.”