-  Saturday 15 December 2018

Take heart from experiments on rats

 -  The Himalayan Times

Agence France Presse
Jan 14 2008, Paris -
Hope for millions in need of organ transplant, as scientists make dead hearts beat anew

In experiments that would make Dr Frankenstein jealous, US scientists have coaxed recycled hearts taken from animal cadavers into beating in the laboratory after reseeding them with live cells, according to a study released today.

If extended to humans, the procedure could provide an almost limitless supply of hearts, and possibly other organs, to millions of terminally ill people waiting helplessly for a new lease on life.

Approximately 50,000 patients in the US alone die every year for lack of a donor heart, and some 22 million people worldwide are living with the threat of heart failure.

“The idea would be to develop transplantable blood vessels or whole organs that are made from your own cells,” said lead researcher Doris Taylor, director of the Centre or Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota. This is the first time an entire, three-dimension bio-artificial heart has been brought to life.
The core procedure making this possible is called decellularisation. In this process, all the cells from an organ — in this case the heart of a dead rat — are stripped away using powerful detergents, leaving only a bleached-white scaffolding composed of proteins secreted by the cells.

In the experiments, this matrix was then injected with a mixture of cells taken from newborn rat hearts and placed in a sterile lab setting.
After only four days, contractions started, and on the eighth day, the hearts were pumping, according to the study, published in Nature Medicine.
“We certainly were surprised that it worked so well and so quickly,” Taylor said.

In humans the objective would be to inject stemcells drawn directly from the recipient of the donated organ, thus eliminating the danger that the new heart would be rejected by the immune system.

“If organs derived from a patient’s own cells would become available on a large scale — maybe even as an off-the-shelf product — millions of patients suffering from organ failure would benefit,” he said.

In these “proof of concept” experiments, the bioartificial rat hearts grown in the lab pumped, after eight days, with a force equivalent to about two per cent of an adult rodent heart.

“It opens a door to this notion that you can make any organ: kidney, liver, lung, pancreas — you name it and we hope we can make it,” Taylor said.

Source : The Himalayan Times

Other articles by reporter The Himalayan Times

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