Welcome to The Visible Embryo

Home-- -History-- -Bibliography- -Pregnancy Timeline- --Prescription Drugs in Pregnancy- -- Pregnancy Calculator- --Female Reproductive System- -Contact
 

Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform


The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a new Web site to help researchers, doctors and
patients obtain reliable information on high-quality clinical trials. Now you can go to one website and search all registers to identify clinical trial research underway around the world!



Home

History

Bibliography

Pregnancy Timeline

Prescription Drug Effects on Pregnancy

Pregnancy Calculator

Female Reproductive System

Contact The Visible Embryo

News Alerts Archive

Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
Content protected under a Creative Commons License.

No dirivative works may be made or used for commercial purposes.

Return To Top Of Page
Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
 

Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive June 27, 2013

 
Biowire Illustration

Human heart cells cannot be abundantly collected from living human patients.
Therefore, Milica Radisic created "biowire," a silk suture "seeded" with human
cardio cells. She mildly shocks the string of cells with pacemaker regularity
at rates mimicking fetal heart rates just prior to birth. That rate
growing from zero to 180 and 360 beats per minute.






WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

'Biowire' matures heart cells by mimicking fetal heartrate

A new method of maturing human heart cells by applying electrical pulses to mimic the heart rate of fetal humans, has led to a step forward incardiac research.

The discovery, announced this week in the scientific journal Nature Methods, offers cardiac researchers a fast and reliable method of creating mature human cardiac patches in a range of sizes.

"You cannot obtain human cardiomyocytes (heart cells) from human patients," explains Milica Radisic, Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering and Associate Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) and the Department of Chemical Engineering. Because human heart cells – integral for studying the efficacy of cardiac drugs, for instance – do not naturally proliferate in large numbers, to date researchers have been using heart cells derived from reprogrammed human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC's), which tend to be too immature to use effectively in research or transplantation.

"The question is: if you want to test drugs or treat adult patients, do you want to use cells and look like and function like fetal cardiomyocytes?" asks Radisic, who was named a "Top Innovator Under 35" by MIT Technology Review and more recently was awarded the Order of Ontario and the Young Engineers of Canada 2012 Achievement Award. "Can we mature these cells to become more like adult cells?"


Radisic and her team, which includes graduate student Jason Miklas and Dr. Sara Nunes, a scientist at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, responded to the challenge by creating 'biowire'.

Stem-cells created from human cardiomyocytes are seeded along a silk suture typically used in medical applications. The suture allows the cells to grow along its length, similar to their natural growth pattern.


Like a scene lifted from Frankenstein, the cells are then treated to cycles of electric pulses, a milder version of a pacemaker, which stimulate the cells to increase in size, connect and finally beat like real heart tissue.

But the key to successfully and rapidly maturing the cells turns out to be the way the pulses are applied.


Mimicking the conditions that occur naturally in cardiac development by simulating the way fetal heart rates escalates prior to birth, the team ramped up the rate from zero to 180 and 360 beats per minute.

"We found that pushing the cells to their limits over the course of a week derived the best effect," reports Radisic.

Grown on sutures that can be sewn directly into a patient, biowires are designed to be fully transplantable. The use of biodegradable sutures is also a viable option.


Miklas argues that the research has practical implications for health care. "With this discovery we can reduce costs on the health care system by creating more accurate drug screening."

According to Nunes, the development takes cardiac research just one step closer to viable cardiac patches.

"One of the greatest challenges of transplanting these patches is getting the cells to survive," says Nunes, who is both a cardiac and a vascularization specialist, "and for that they need the blood vessels. Our next challenge is to put the vascularization together with cardiac cells."

Radisic, who calls the new method a "game changer," points out just how far the field has come in a very short time.


"In 2006 science saw the first derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells from mice. Now we can turn stem cells into cardiac cells and make relatively mature tissue from human samples, without ethical concerns."

Milica Radisic, Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering, and Associate Professor, Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto


ABOUT IBBME
The Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) is an interdisciplinary unit situated between three Faculties at the University of Toronto: Applied Science and Engineering, Dentistry and Medicine.

Original press release:http://www.engineering.utoronto.ca/About/Engineering_in_the_
News/Can _Frankenstein_and_a_Baby_s_Heartbeat_Unlock_the_Mysteries_of_Stem_Cells_.htm