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April 2, 2007

British Researchers Grow Human Heart Valve From Stem Cells

Topics: Medicine

heart%20valve%20filler.jpgA team led by a professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London has grown a human heart valve from stem cells, something that has never been done before and which brings the goal of growing a whole, beating heart closer to reality. Notably, the stem cells were extracted from bone marrow, NOT fetal stem cells:

... If animal tests later this year prove successful, replacement tissue could be used in transplants within three years for hundreds of thousands of people suffering from heart disease.

... The scientists first coaxed stem cells extracted from bone marrow to grow into heart valve cells by using chemical and physical nudges.

Then, by placing these cells into scaffolds made of collagen, they grew small 3cm wide discs of heart valve tissue.

[...] Later this year the tissue will be implanted into animals - probably sheep or pigs - and monitored to see how well it works as part of a circulatory system.

If that trial works well, Dr Yacoub is optimistic that the replacement heart tissue, which can be grown into the shape of a human heart valve using specially designed collagen scaffolds, could be used in patients within three to five years.

More here.

Posted by Richard at April 2, 2007 5:56 AM

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