Scientists turn spinach leaves into heart tissue

Scientists in Massachusetts have discovered how to turn spinach leaves into working heart tissue.

Researchers say it's a breakthrough that could potentially save the lives of people who've suffered organ damage from heart problems.

Popeye swore by it and now new research has proved spinach is more than just a superfood.

Scientists at Worcester Polytechnic have figured out how to use the leaves to grow working heart tissue.

"To be able to take something as simple as a spinach leaf which is an abundant plant and actually turn that into a tissue which has the potential for blood to flow through it is very very exciting," says professor of biomedical engineering Glenn Gaudette.

After stripping cells from the leaves, they used its delicate vein structure to replicate the way blood moves through human tissue.

"Our hope is that we'll be able to use that vascular system in the spinach leaf to provide the cells that are grown in the leaf with nutrients and oxygen," Prof Gaudette says.

By growing working heart muscle on spinach leaves, researchers hope the breakthrough could one day replace damaged and dead heart tissue in human patients.

"In terms of the small amount that we've been working with it seems to be very promising," says graduate student Joshua Gershlak.

And although that could be a while away, researchers are confident it could help save many lives in the future.