Hearts from Dead Bodies Made to Beat Again

Illustration for article titled Hearts from Dead Bodies Made to Beat Again

Hearts removed from dead rats started beating again after several days in a lab. No, it wasn't caused by that bright green serum from Re-Animator — it was real science at work, and it could mean heart transplants are about to get much, much easier. A completely "dead" heart can be coaxed into beating on its own within 8 days if treated correctly.

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Reuters reports on an article published yesterday in Nature:

[Doris] Taylor and colleagues used a process called decellularization to wash away existing cells from the hearts of dead rats while leaving the basic collagen structure intact. They injected this gelatin-like scaffold with heart cells from newborn rats, fed them a nutrient-rich solution and left them in the lab to grow. Four days later, the hearts started to contract. The researchers used a pacemaker to coordinate the contractions. They hooked up the hearts to a pump so they were being filled with fluids and added a bit of pressure to simulate blood pressure. Eight days later, the hearts started to pump.

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Scientists create beating hearts in lab [Reuters]

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DISCUSSION

The heart is an amazing organ.. Hearts will individually contract on their own a somewhat random rate... Once they start growing together they will sync up their rhythm and contract together..

It seems like this would be more a step towards drug free organ transplants than to unlimited organ transplants.

(you still have to get the organ martix from somewhere)