Science has taken another big step in the direction of building new body organs from stem cells. A team of scientists at the University of Minnesota report that they constructed a new rat heart, injecting cells from newborn rodents onto a scaffold of valves that were left intact after dead heart cells were removed. The heart took shape and began pumping some blood. In theory, the same approach--intensely refined--could be used in about a decade to create new human hearts by using bone marrow stem cells seeded onto heart valves.
Team-leader Dr. Doris A. Taylor told The New York Times that the project clearly demonstrates how doctors in the not-too-distant future will be able to create any new organ that's needed, including livers, lungs and kidneys. That's the holy grail of tissue regeneration, which has made a series of stunning advancements in recent years.
"The next goal will be to see if we can get the heart to pump strongly enough and become mature enough that we can use it to keep an animal alive" in a replacement transplant, Dr. Taylor told The New York Times.
- see this release
- read the article in The New York Times
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