Researchers have managed to use stem cells to regenerate the outer layer of the heart – the epicardium.
The interdisciplinary team of researchers based at Penn State University say this breakthrough will bring them closer to regenerating an entire heart wall.
The research could be a major step forward in treating patients who have had heart attacks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the US has a heart attack every 43 seconds.
They found that the epicardium cells they had made were similar to epicardium cells in living humans and those grown in the laboratory.
The research, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, used a chemical pathway, called the Wnt signaling pathway, to regenerate the cells.