Friday, April 29, 2011

Growing a Human Heart

Anthony Atala is trying to take a human heart from a donor... Then his team uses a series of chemical baths to strip the heart of all the cells, but leave all the connecting tissue... this creates a "ghost heart". The next step is to is to use living cells from the patient  and "paint" them onto the ghost heart, where they will (hopefully) grow into all the gaps, nooks and crannies and create a living beating heart that the patients body will never reject.

They've already done this successfully over thirty times with  bladders and kidneys. But those do not have moving parts... Right now, he's working a lot with pigs. If this process works well, He thinks theres no reason we can't take a pig's heart (among other organs)... ghost it... and use it as the scaffolding to grow a new human organ... This would mean a permanent end to waiting for an organ donor.