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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Getting to the heart of the matter...


I was reading recently that doctors took a dead animal heart and after painstakingly removing the dead cells, were left with nothing but a collagen matrix. This they reconstituted it with living heart cells; after it had grown enough of them, it started beating again.

This was an unprecedented accomplishment.

It was done using a laboratory rat's heart. In theory a pig's heart, which is actually a close physiological match for the human heart, could be processed in the same way...thereby producing, once infused with human heart cells, a viable replacement suitable for transplant. In theory.

Here are some photographs showing various stages:


Also, here are couple of articles about it:

First bioartificial heart may signal end of organ shortage

'Spare part heart' beats in lab

It's still theoretical, but I think it's heartening news...
(I know, OUCH!)

11 Comments:

Blogger boberin said...

Heartening news?? Ouch is right!

But, being one with a slightly faulty heart any advancements would seem to be good news. Pig parts? Sign me up!!

April 09, 2008 8:06 AM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Pig hearts? Well, I guess that will give Muslims another reason to hate Christians. And for that matter, I wonder if Jews will figure out a way to "Kosherize" them...

(:D) Best regards.

April 09, 2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger Tin Ma'am said...

In theory, unfortunately people are very much against human testing which actually stifles discovery. Medical discoveries would have quicker fruition if we were allowed to apply them. You know what will stifle the chances of getting heart transplants via this process from saving lives? Politics. It's like stem cell research all over again.

April 09, 2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Let not our hearts be troubled...medical science continues to discover new ways to keep our hearts beating. I take heart at such a fascinating new discovery.

April 09, 2008 3:38 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

boberin:
You have a slightly faulty heart, but yet you still smoke anyway?

DOUBLE OUCH!!!

Hawkeye®:
These are interesting points you raise; I wonder if some other animal would be a more acceptable alternative to those belief systems.

Tin Ma'am:
The primary objection to embryonic stem cell research is/was using human life as a commodity...which is something of an ethical "slippery slope". I don't think too many people have a problem with the other type of stem cell research.

Bunny:
Medical science is quite heartily pursuing quite a number of amazing possibilities...

April 09, 2008 7:46 PM  
Blogger angus the scot said...

Oink Oink snerk snerk skeee skeee oink...Yah mean Dr Jarvik's ad for the heart med is outdated! And his jarvik will be a thing of the past?

angus

April 09, 2008 11:26 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

There was something on TV the other day about people living until they are 150 years old. Since so many do die of an "Achy Breaky Heart" this could be one of the huge steps forward.I know they are starting to do surgery where they usedto have to crack open the chest ,by just useing little holes .Laparoscopy. The changes in just the past 10 years are heart lifting.

Barb

April 10, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

angus the scot:
That's an interesting impression of a pig.

I think Dr. Jarvik's stuff will be needed for awhile yet; this experimental procedure isn't expected to be ready for use on humans for another 10 years.

Barb:
They just used a couple of little holes to replace the ACL and repair the meniscus in my left knee two years ago.

The changes in medical science in our lifetime has been nothing short of miraculous...

April 10, 2008 10:27 PM  
Blogger Grant Jones said...

Less red meat, read "The China Study" a very good book.

April 11, 2008 10:51 AM  
Blogger mig said...

Don't go breaking my heart. And I can not imagine this body at 100, forget about 150! ICK!

April 13, 2008 9:24 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Grant Jones:
Less red meat? Au contraire! The heart is mostly composed of the stuff.

"The China Study", eh? Actually, I already do eat in a rather healthy manner most of the time, my habitual hearty Sunday steak & egg breakfast notwithstanding.

mig:
My heart goes out to you, sweetheart.

But if they can make new hearts someday, I expect that other spare parts will also be available...

All:
A heartfelt ELEVENTEEN!!!

April 14, 2008 6:48 AM  

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