Scientists Rebuild Heart With Stem Cells

Advance could save heart disease patients, regrow other organs
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2008 7:04 PM CST
In the United States, 5 million people live with heart failure, and roughly 50,000 of those patients die each year while awaiting a donor heart, according to the study, US News and World Report says.   (Index Stock)
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(Newser) – Scientists rebuilt rat and pig hearts using stem cells taken from the recipients themselves, the Telegraph reports—a medical breakthrough that could help the 22 million people who suffer from heart failure worldwide. The technique, called whole organ decellularization, produced the world’s first functioning “bioartificial” heart within eight days after researchers injected it with fresh stem cells.

“We just took nature’s own building blocks to build a new organ,” one researcher said. Human experimentation is years away and “multiple things” must be done before the technique can be used to help the five million Americans suffering from heart failure, scientists caution. But decellularization could also be used to grow other organs, such as kidneys, lungs, and livers.