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A new method has been developed for observing the effects of drugs on heart cells under the microscope.

Star wars in a petri dish Dr Matthew Daniels

Image courtesy of Dr Matthew Daniels

Researchers from Oxford University created the technique to test the effects of new or commonly used drugs on heart function, as well as exploring new ways to treat diabetes.

The new method involves flashing blue light onto the cell and watching how it responds by looking at it with a red light.

The technique involves inserting genes from blue-green algae and tropical coral into heart or pancreatic cells, which are created in the laboratory. The modified cells are introduced to a laser beam in a microscope, which the researchers named ‘the Death Star’, and the process is then filmed with a camera.

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