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In a discovery that highlights the promise of stem cell research,
researchers say a "master" embryonic cardiac stem cell is able
to produce all three types of cardiac tissue.
In experiments using mice, the Harvard University team was
able to produce cardiac muscle, smooth muscle and "pacemaker"
"This is the beginning of unlocking the scientific and therapeutic
potential of human embryonic stem cells," said the lead author
of the first report, Dr. Kenneth R. Chien of the Harvard Stem Cell
According to experts, that potential includes the ability, someday,
to repair hearts by growing new cardiac tissue from stem cells.
Embryonic stems cells are unique in that they have the ability to
develop into any type of cell.