Scientists have discovered that a fatty fold of tissue which sits over stomach and intestines may be the perfect spot to grow cells for heart repair.

Heart attacks can often damage heart tissue. Though tissue grown in the laboratory could repair the damage, this does not always integrate well into the body. Now, an Israeli team has found that the fatty apron of tissue called omentum can grow patches of cells for heart repair.

For their research, the scientists at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, seeded rat cardiac cells onto scaffolds which they transplanted into the omentums of eight rats, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.

After a week of growth, they transplanted the patches of heart tissue into damaged hearts of another set of rats.

The patches integrated well with existing heart cells and beat in time, unlike patches grown in the laboratory.

The team attributes the success to the omentum-grown cells developing a denser, more mature set of blood vessels.

The same trick might one day also work in people although some might object to having two transplants, the scientists said.

The findings are published in the latest edition of the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’