The evidence for transplanting heart in the USA tells that there are around 4,190 Americans on the heart transplant list. Due to the donor shortage, many of them will probably not have possibility to do it. However, scientists succeed to grow a transplantable heart in labs, which as a magical dream will soon turn into reality.
The journal Circulation Research published a study that confirmed this success of the group of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. They managed that by growing a beating human heart using stem cells. Their results are more than brilliant.
In some cases, a heart transplant may cause complications, because the body may reject the new heart. The transplanted heart may be registered as a threat. The body can even destroy the transplanted heart, and patients are required to take medication to suppress their immunity.
To remove any cells that may trigger the self-destructive response, for this study, researchers immersed 73 human hearts (unsuitable for transplantation) in solutions of detergent. The hearts were left with the scaffold of the human heart, filled with blood vessels, which is their foundation.
Researchers turned human skin cells into pluripotent stems cells, which may become bone, nerve, and even muscle cells in the body. When soaked in a nutrient solution, these cells could grow on the scaffold.
After two weeks, researchers had the cells as a part of immature hearts and when they used electricity, the hearts started beating. The body needs to consider these cells “friendly, ” but it is not the case with the skin cells, because they have to be sourced from the same body.
The lead author of the study Jacques Guyette, a biomedical researcher at the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, explained that his team intends to improve the methods, and generate more cardiac cells.
The number of heart cells for “growing” a new heart is about “tens of billions,” and researchers “made” 500 million stem cell-derived heart cells. Jacques and his team were happy as this brings them a step closer towards providing a new, healthy organ to patients waiting for a heart transplant.
Even though researchers have developed so many techniques in the past decade, this is the most incredible method ever. The second chance for so many people waiting for transplantation of the heart may become a reality. We all believe that researchers will finish what they started, and provide a new heart to those who are on the transplant list.
According to the medical statistic of the USA about 610,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, so the new findings may bring this number down rapidly.