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Medicine

Bioengineered Mouse Heart Gets a Beat Using Human Cells 38

Posted by samzenpus
from the tin-man-approved dept.
cylonlover writes "Heart transplants have given new life to thousands, but are only an unfulfilled hope to thousands more due to a shortage of donor organs. With the goal of meeting this shortfall, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have bioengineered a mouse heart in the lab that beats on its own. The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts that wouldn't be rejected by the recipient."
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Bioengineered Mouse Heart Gets a Beat Using Human Cells

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  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest (469614) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @07:38PM (#44579015)

    i've been worried that we might run out of mice, but with this new technology, we can now save those mice who need heart transplants. We won't have to wait for a donar mouse to be killed in an accident any more! It's also hard to convince them to sign a donor cars, as very few of them know how to write.

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @09:49PM (#44579641)

      i've been worried that we might run out of mice, but with this new technology, we can now save those mice who need heart transplants. We won't have to wait for a donar mouse to be killed in an accident any more! It's also hard to convince them to sign a donor cars, as very few of them know how to write.

      I realize you are joking. But Hurricane Sandy hit the labs at NYU last year and killed all of the mice and rats that had been bred for 80 different traits for neurological studies. They lost about 20 years worth of work. The last I heard, they've been able to recover only 35% of what was lost due to other labs either donating or sending back lines that came from there.

  • ...so this research is misguided in that sense. See: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/PCI_angioplasty_article.aspx [drfuhrman.com]

    • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @08:42PM (#44579301) Homepage Journal

      ...so this research is misguided in that sense. See: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/PCI_angioplasty_article.aspx [drfuhrman.com]

      The link to Dr. Fuhrman's web site says:

      The findings indicated that there was no evidence that angioplasty and stent placement for coronary artery disease resulted in fewer heart attacks or deaths when compared to patients with the same level of disease who were not treated in this manner.

      That's true, but irrelevant. As the Lancet reported in 2009, angioplasty and stent placement doesn't reduce deaths. Cardiologists don't use it to reduce death any more. They use it to reduce angina (pain). Of course there are unscrupulous doctors who do unnecessary surgery. Just as there are unscrupulous doctors who sell people overpriced, unnecessary vitamins and supplements, as Fuhrman is doing.

      However, coronary artery bypass, which bypasses the occluded coronary arteries with grafts from arteries and veins, does reduce death. It extends life by about 6 years in one study that I read, but it depends on the patient population. One of the issues is that medical treatment (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, statins, etc.) has gotten so good that the advantage of surgery over best medical treatment has gotten smaller.

      Here's one study.

      http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/112/9_suppl/I-371.full [ahajournals.org]
      Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease: Comparing Long-Term Survival of Patients With Multivessel Coronary Disease After CABG or PCI
      Circulation. 2005; 112: I-371-I-376 doi: 10.1161/

      Adjusted long-term survival for patients with 3-vessel disease was better after CABG than PCI (HR, 0.60; P<0.01) but not for patients with 2-vessel disease (HR, 0.98; P=0.77).

      Conclusions— In contemporary practice, survival for patients with 3-vessel coronary disease is better after CABG than PCI, an observation that patients and physicians should carefully consider when deciding on a revascularization strategy.

      Dr. Fuhrman (selectively) quotes The Lancet to argue that angioplasty and stents don't work.

      Where are the published studies in major peer-reviewed journals to show that Dr. Fuhrman's diet treatment works? I don't think there are any.

      There are studies published in in JAMA and NEJM of randomized trials of various dietary interventions, like the Atkins diet and traditional Greek diets, and some of them have good results, but nowhere near what Fuhrman is claiming.

      Conclusion
      Come to your own conclusion.

      I conclude that Fuhrman is a huckster, making misleading and probably false claims. If people drop their standard medical treatment in favor of his diets, he's killing people.

      • http://www.heartattackproof.com/ [heartattackproof.com]
        "A groundbreaking program backed by the irrefutable results from Dr. Esselstyn's 20-year study proving changes in diet and nutrition can actually cure heart disease ... The proof is in the results. The patients in Dr. Esselstyn's initial study came to him with advanced coronary artery disease. Despite the aggressive treatment they received, among them bypasses and angioplasties, 5 of the original group were told by their cardiologists they had less than a year to live. Within

        • by nbauman (624611)

          I know what the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association say about diet preventing cardiovascular disease. I know what those (mainstream, establishment) doctors wrote in the Washington Post about Bush's stent. I don't dispute that. What I do dispute is that diet can reverse cardiovascular disease to the extent that Fuhrman claims.

          This is America. We have the First Amendment. Anybody can publish a book, no matter how stupid or poorly-supported its claims are.

          What I want is an article in

    • by Guppy (12314)

      Most heart disease is curable by diet...

      In theory, so is recently-onset Type-2 Diabetes.

      In the past year, I've maybe encountered about 3 patients that actually managed the feat, though. Lifestyle change is a surprisingly difficult thing to implement, even when life and limb are literally at stake.

  • by lazarus (2879) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @08:42PM (#44579297) Journal

    Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

    Seriously though, I wonder how long it will be before brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Pick's disease and the like are considered the most catastrophic things that can happen to you as other body parts become easier to grow and replace.

    • by nbauman (624611)

      Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

      We've got it!
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225153130.htm [sciencedaily.com]
      Liver Stem Cells Grown in Culture, Transplanted With Demonstrated Therapeutic Benefit

      You are a mouse, aren't you?

    • Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

      Seriously though, I wonder how long it will be before brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Pick's disease and the like are considered the most catastrophic things that can happen to you as other body parts become easier to grow and replace.

      The liver is pretty easy. I was in Hannover Germany a few years ago and they had flushed the cells off of a pig liver and grown cells from a human liver onto it to make a functioning liver. I don't know how far that has come since then. The heart is a bit more difficult with the moving and all.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @09:05PM (#44579429)

    The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts

    The mouse will have to be rather big...

  • Whew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@ y a hoo.com> on Thursday August 15, 2013 @11:48PM (#44580245)

    Every time I think I have to quite smoking and drinking and all those other things I do in the mornings something like this comes to the rescue.

    • Smoking and drinking effects all of your body; not just your heart. Most importantly, it effects your brain.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Wut?

        • You can't just cut your skull open and replace your brain with a new one. Not unless you want your memories (and thus your identity) to go bye-bye along with it. Perhaps you were just joking. But in all seriousness, your brain defines who you are. If you can't take care of it, what's the point in repairing the rest of your body other than to ease pain and suffering? If you mind goes, to hell with the rest of your body.

  • I've never understood why the organ shortage couldn't be solved, or at least improved, by making it an "opt out" system instead of an "opt in" system. My understanding is that the organs are thrown away anyhow when the body is prepared for a funeral. If people really want to not donate that's OK, just let them opt out. Anyone know more about this and why it might not be a good idea?

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