T Nation

Muscles Made With Rat Cells

This is wild. Conceivable but damn, how do they do manage to think of these things?

[quote]Researchers at Harvard University have created thin sheets of elastic film studded with rat heart muscle cells that are bringing that fantastic scenario closer to reality.

Like Dr. Frankenstein using lightning to bring his monster to life, the research team�??led by biomedical engineer Kit Parker�??zapped their muscle-bound sheets with electricity.

This coaxed the muscle cells to contract, bending and flexing the polymer sheets. Sometimes the movement continued spontaneously; other times, it proceeded only in tandem with the electrical inputs.

By cutting out triangles, rectangular strips, and other shapes of this material, the researchers were able to make living origami that could swim, grab, and crawl.

The researchers are optimistic that the findings could point the way to sophisticated new “soft robots,” effective replacement organs, and better prosthetic devices. (Related: “Flexible Electronics One Step Closer With New Circuits” [December 15, 2005].)[/quote]

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070906-flexing-muscles.html

What if you could extend this science to life support; the heart and vascular system in specific?