Monday, January 14, 2008


Growing New Hearts from Old

‘Scientists at the University of Minnesota have taken a big step toward making replacement organs with the recipients’ cells. In experiments performed on rats and pigs, the researchers stripped donor hearts of their cells to create scaffolds on which the recipients’ cells were grown. The hope is that a similar approach might someday prove useful to human patients with end-stage heart disease. In theory, these novel hearts could prove to be better than traditional donor hearts because they are less likely to cause an immune response.

“It’s an audacious, gutsy, exciting piece of work,” says Buddy Ratner, a professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research. Still, substantial hurdles remain before the approach might be applicable to human patients.’

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