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#3473 - 01/14/08 09:58 PM Lab creates heart using old heart + new stem cells
Nemesis Offline
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Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2175
Loc: US
Researchers at the University of Minnesota were able to create a beating heart using the outer structure of one heart and injecting heart cells from another rat....

"We took a rat heart and used soap to wash out the cells of the heart," said Doris Taylor, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair, Medtronic Bakken professor of medicine and physiology and lead author of the study.



The process is called "decelluarization." To do this, Taylor and her team hung up the heart from a dead rat, introduced a regular soap solution into the top of the organ, and let gravity do the work. The soap moved through the heart's blood vessels, dissolving existing cells, which dropped out of the bottom. This process was repeated until only the outermost casing of the heart was left, resulting in a "white, almost gelatin-looking heart," Taylor explained. This would be the equivalent of the gutted house.

The rebuilding started with injecting new heart cells, in this case cells from baby lab rats, and pumping them through the heart. By treating the cells as heart cells would be treated and using a pacemaker to help them learn how to pump, they grew into a heart that could pump -- essentially rebuilding the organ's interior.

Taylor says they've already started experimenting with pig hearts, which are closer in size to human hearts and because pig hearts are already used for replacement parts for some human heart patients.

The goal is to increase options for human heart patients. The body would be less likely to reject an organ created from its own cells.


Read in full here

Is this the wave of the future? Using this method of cleaning out an old heart and rebuilding it with the heart cells from the intended recipient is more feasible than "growing" an entirely new one in a petri dish (okay, not something so flat, but you get the gist). Not to mention it's also a time-saver, and there are plenty of dead hearts to go 'round in case the first one or two don't develop correctly or fail after a short period of being implanted. They could start up a batch of a half dozen to have on hand as a back-up. Theoretically, this new method could also be used to "recreate" other vital organs, and bypass the existing laws placed on stem cell research (obtaining cells from a living patient with consent is somehow different from taking them from an undeveloped embryo that has no consciousness--don't ask why, I have no idea either).

I also think it's a sound argument for animal research and testing, and those bleeding-heart PETA freaks can kiss my ass. Unless they'd like to volunteer and donate their heart to science to spare the rats. Gimme a break

Thoughts? Opinions?
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#3479 - 01/15/08 12:58 AM Re: Lab creates heart using old heart + new stem cells [Re: Nemesis]
Octavius Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 557
Loc: Left the party
This has been a very big story here in Minneapolis. Its been the topic of many conversations around town. Opinions differ, but the vast majority of people (at least those who I've spoken with or overheard) seem ok with the event.

Outside of this forum, I'm a fairly outspoken Animal Rights Activist. I don't agree with the means they employ, but I understand it. As for donation, once I'm done using my organs, medical science is welcome to them. But that might just be my bleeding-heart talking...
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#3483 - 01/15/08 07:20 AM Re: Lab creates heart using old heart + new stem cells [Re: Octavius]
Nemesis Offline
senior member


Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2175
Loc: US
I'm also registered as an organ donor, feeling that since I keep myself pretty healthy (aside from not exercising), my kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, etc might be of use to someone in need.

I love animals as well, and the way they're treated in labs makes my skin crawl. Their trapped, hopeless expressions are painful to see. But at the same time, we've made such advancements in science and health because of experimenting on them. Perhaps at some point in the future, considering how rapidly our technology has advanced over the years, and we've discovered cures for the major fatal diseases and mastered organ regeneration, labs will no longer have to test on live subjects.
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