The Ghost Heart

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More than 3,200 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant in the United States. Last year, 340 died before a new heart was found.

Take a pig heart, soak it in an ingredient commonly found in shampoo and wash away the cells until you’re left with a protein scaffold that is to a heart what two-by-four framing is to a house.

Then inject that ghost heart, as it’s called, with hundreds of millions of blood or bone-marrow stem cells from a person who needs a heart transplant, place it in a bioreactor – a box with artificial lungs and tubes that pump oxygen and blood into it – and wait as the ghost heart begins to mature into a new, beating human heart.

To be sure, it’s not ready for primetime yet, but it’s getting tantalizing close.

Via cleveland.com.

This entry was posted in Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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