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Can firefly stem cells help repair damaged hearts? Sho'nuff!

Steven Ebert  (Source:
Healthy heart muscle glows brighter and brighter as stem cells develop

University of Central Florida researchers could repair and monitor damaged hearts without cutting into a patient's chest with the use of glowing "firefly" stem cells

These stem cells, which are created with the same exact enzyme that makes fireflies glow, were engineered by Steven Ebert, an associate professor in UCF's College of Medicine. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

As the "firefly" stem cells develop into healthy heart muscle, they glow brighter and brighter, which allows researchers to watch and determine if the stem cells are working and where exactly they are. To do this, a special camera lens is used under a microscope to see the stem cells without ever having to cut into the patients chest. 

"The question that we answered was, 'How do you follow these cells in the lab and find out where they're going?'" said Ebert. 

Up until now, researchers were unsure as to why stem cells "morph" into organs where they are transplanted. They were also unsure of how fast it takes stem cells to do it. But with Ebert's research and use of "firefly" stem cells, these glowing stem cells can be observed step-by-step. 

According to Ebert, the next step in this type of research would be to use these stem cells in a disease model to observe how they heal a damaged heart and determine what sort of environment would help these stem cells become most successful. 

Figuring out how these stem cells repair and regenerate heart tissue could help the 17.6 million Americans dealing with coronary disease. In addition, with the use of "firefly" stem cells, the monitoring of the stem cells would not require cutting into the chest anymore. 

This study, titled "Generation of Novel Reporter Stem Cells and Their Application for Molecular Imaging of Cardiac-Differentiated Stem Cells In Vivo," can be found in this month's Stem Cell and Development Journal.

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Who's tha masta!
By MrBlastman on 9/29/2010 1:58:19 PM , Rating: 3
Sho' Nuff!

"Kiss my converse, damaged heart cells!"


Not even Bruce Leeroy can save them now.

RE: Who's tha masta!
By BladeVenom on 9/29/2010 2:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
All I can remember from that movie is Vanity. She got my... heart pumping.

RE: Who's tha masta!
By amanojaku on 9/29/2010 2:33:48 PM , Rating: 6
Catches heart attacks with his arteries?!? Ventricle, please!

RE: Who's tha masta!
By Brandon Hill on 9/29/2010 3:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
That my friend, is a SIX! :)

RE: Who's tha masta!
By therealnickdanger on 9/29/2010 2:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
"Yo! I got somethin' glowin' fo' yo' heart in these hands!"

"You just get those stem cells to the designated place at the designated time, and I will gladly designate his non-glowing heart... for dismemberment!"

Say what?!
By PaterPelligrino on 9/30/2010 2:35:53 AM , Rating: 2
As the "firefly" stem cells develop into healthy heart muscle

I find it difficult to believe that stem cells from an insect, with its drastically different DNA, could morph into functioning human heart cells. Surely that is not possible?

RE: Say what?!
By safcman84 on 9/30/2010 5:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
I find it difficult to believe that stem cells from an insect, with its drastically different DNA, could morph into functioning human heart cells. Surely that is not possible?


they are human stem cells which have the same enzyme as the firefly. They are not actual firefly cells......

RE: Say what?!
By PaterPelligrino on 9/30/2010 5:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
Ouch! That is embarrassing. That'll teach me not to comment on articles I've only skimmed thorough.

RE: Say what?!
By tmouse on 9/30/2010 9:10:47 AM , Rating: 3
You are only partially correct. They used mouse stem cells injected into 2-4 day old mice. This is not as ground breaking as it seems. Luciferase has been used as a stem cell marker for years. The novelty is the in vivo tracking and this is only a little novel since mice at this age are fairly translucent anyways. They were able to inject into the heart by shining a light through the mouse’s back. They did get a good signal to be able to see bioluminescence through the body wall, but it is not applicable to anything else (older mice or humans). They also probably did not become “real” heart cells since by their own report the reporter’s signal attenuated by 2 weeks and stopped after 24 days and when more than 100,000 cells were used signal was seen throughout the chest and tumors were found in >80% or the mice. This is an example of some fair to good basic research being taken way out of context by the press.

RE: Say what?!
By saganhill on 9/30/2010 1:36:13 PM , Rating: 1
LMAO... you obviously are not into any type of science are you? Go back and read the article, then come back and post.

Somebody call PETA!
By nstott on 9/29/2010 3:02:37 PM , Rating: 2
Tiffany, how can you support this gross miscarriage of environmental justice?! Those poor, oppressed fireflies!

RE: Somebody call PETA!
By Tiffany Kaiser on 9/29/2010 4:14:35 PM , Rating: 3
Oh yes, they probably have millions of fireflies stuffed in jars just waiting to have their magical glowing enzymes extracted whenever this procedure calls for it. They couldn't possibly replicate this enzyme in a lab. *rolls eyes*

Yes, I noted your sarcasm. ;)

RE: Somebody call PETA!
By JonnyDough on 9/30/2010 12:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I think they need to start researching better ways to utilize kittens and bunnies to save lives. There has to be some viable enzyme or something there somewhere!

RE: Somebody call PETA!
By sleepeeg3 on 10/1/2010 12:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
We should experiment to be sure...

By dgingeri on 9/29/2010 2:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
Turn on your Heart Light, let it shine where ever you go...

By morphologia on 9/29/2010 3:17:37 PM , Rating: 3
So this treatment may result in an uncontrollable urge to phone home?

By JonnyDough on 9/30/2010 12:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
Can I call your home? Mine's broken. May I also use your cell? I dropped mine in a vat of leftover firefly parts.

By sleepeeg3 on 9/30/2010 2:21:09 AM , Rating: 1
^ Better 6

Movie skin deep
By RugMuch on 9/29/2010 2:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone ever see the movie skin deep. I am tired of buying glow in the dark condoms already.

RE: Movie skin deep
By nstott on 9/29/2010 2:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
and after an injection of firefly juice to the right place, you won't need to.

RE: Movie skin deep
By JonnyDough on 9/30/2010 12:17:23 AM , Rating: 2
Something about glow in the dark condoms kinda scare me. Maybe its the fact that my sister's both had glow in the dark stars on the ceilings of their rooms until they were 17. I guess I'm just a bit more into the "adult themed" sex.

Who's the Badest.. Sho Nuff!!!
By Blood1 on 9/29/2010 5:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sho'nuff: Am I the meanest?
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Sho'nuff: Am I the prettiest?
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Sho'nuff: Am I the baddest mofo low down around this town?
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Sho'nuff: Well who am I?
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Sho'nuff: Who am I?
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Sho'nuff: I can't hear you...
Sho'nuff 's Goons: Sho'nuff!
Leroy Green: Hey my man, what it look like?

By curiousgeorgieo on 9/30/2010 3:02:09 AM , Rating: 2

Man so that's what happened to ET

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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