14:23 Mar. 17, 2016
Synthetic heart grown from patient's own stem cells to save more lives
Of the 4,000 Americans waiting for heart transplants, only 2,500 will receive new hearts in the next year. Even for those lucky enough to get a transplant, the biggest risk is the their bodies will reject the new heart and launch a massive immune reaction against the foreign cells, according to Popular Science.
To combat the problems of organ shortage and decrease the chance that a patient's body will reject it, researchers have been working to create synthetic organs from patients' own cells.
Now a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has gotten one step closer, using adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue, according to a study published recently in the journal Circulation Research.
While this isn't the first time heart tissue has been grown in the lab, it's the closest researchers have come to their end goal: Growing an entire working human heart.