Scientists grow first heart

Medical breakthrough after scientists grow first beating heart

The first beating heart has been grown in a laboratory by scientists.

The medical leap could change the lives of thousands who suffer from coronary disease, who in the future could be offered a ‘made to order’ transplant. It also means other organs such as kidneys, lungs and livers could eventually be grown.

Medical tests were carried out on animal hearts, as the possibility of a human transplant using a laboratory-grown organ is still years from materialising.

Growing heart tissue has been an ongoing experiment for scientists, and until now creating a three-dimensional organ had proved impossible.

The revolutionary technique strips away the cells from a dead donor heart, leaving a ‘skeleton’ of connective tissue which is then injected with healthy heart cells. These cells grow to create a new living heart.

Dr Harald Ott, from the University of Minnesota, which took part in the study, said: ‘When we saw the first contractions we were speechless.’

Dr Doris Taylor, of the Centre for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota commented: ‘It opens the door to this notion that you can make any organ: kidney, liver, lung, pancreas – you name it and we hope we can make it.’

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