Adult stem cells used to grow a new heart

From Life Site News. (H/T Letitia)


Researchers at the University of Minnesota used adult stem cells to create a living human heart that they hope will revolutionize transplants.

The breakthrough, said lead researcher Dr. Doris Taylor, could ultimately mean that “donated” hearts are no longer used in transplant operations, circumventing the ethical problems involved in organ donation and obviating the need for drugs to combat immune system rejection.

Dr. Taylor, director of the university’s Center for Cardiovascular Repair, is one of the world’s leaders in heart organ repair and regeneration and has said it is her goal to create a living heart that can be transplanted into a patient, entirely out of stem cells.

She presented her team’s findings at the American College of Cardiology’s annual conference in New Orleans.

“The hearts are growing, and we hope they will show signs of beating within the next weeks,” she told the Daily Mail. “There are many hurdles to overcome to generate a fully functioning heart, but my prediction is that it may one day be possible to grow entire organs for transplant.”

The breakthrough is a follow-up on work Dr. Taylor completed in 2008 in which her team used stem cells to rebuild the hearts of rats. They removed all the muscle cells in a rat heart, leaving just a “scaffold” of other tissues such as blood vessels and valves. This scaffold was then repopulated with stem cells, which took their cues from the scaffold tissue to regenerate healthy, functioning heart muscle.

Another scientific breakthrough for ethical adult stem cells.

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