> Created in the laboratory a beating heart

the scientists of The Center for cardiovascular repair university of america have created and caused to grow cardiac tissue functioning, using as starting point the hearts of pig and the rat dead, then ‘start again’ with a mixture of live cells.

A complex process, called decellularizzazione of a whole body, which has as its objective to “develop,” explains Doris Taylor, director of the center, in the journal Nature Medicine – blood vessels or a complete heart, starting from the patient’s cells, to be transplanted”.

The technique consists in removing every cell from an organ – in this case, a heart taken from dead animals – leaving intact only the extracellular matrix.

The researchers mixed the cells taken in this way with a mixture of progenitor cells extracted from the heart muscle of mice as soon as their birth made them grow in the laboratory in a sterile environment.

“The results have been very promising,” stresses Taylor. Only after four days, the organ created in the laboratory twitched, after eight days of beating.

“We were without words – says Harald Ott, co-author of the study – We simply removed a organ, a ‘product’ of nature, to build a new one”.

The team hopes that the process of decellularizzazione can be specifically used to obtain organs for transplant, remedying the shortage of donors compared to the demand.

“Looking ahead – anticipates Taylor – our next goal is to use the stem cells of a patient, to build him a new heart”.

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Page published on January 14, 2008