British researchers at Harefield hospital have grown part of a human heart from stem cells that works in the same way as human heart valves.
Heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub, who led the team, said doctors could be using artificially grown heart components in transplants within three years. Researchers will see their achievement as a major step towards growing entire organs for transplant.
Stem cells have the potential to turn into many different types of cell.
Sir Magdi, professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London, had been working on ways to address a shortage of donated hearts for patients.
He said he hoped that soon an entire heart could be grown from stem cells. “It is an ambitious project but not impossible. If you want me to guess I’d say 10 years.”