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Biotech

MIT Researchers Grow Beating Heart Tissue 29

Iphtashu Fitz writes "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that they have been able to grow heart tissue the size of a dime from cells harvested from rats. When an electrical impulse is passed through the tissue it twitches like a beating heart. This represents the first time scientists have succeeded in using an electrical current to produce dense heart tissue that beats in a rhythm mimicking that of a live animal's heart. The next step for the researchers is to patch damaged hearts of other rats to see if it can behave like a cardiac bandage. If successful this could eventually lead to treatments for heart attacks and other cardiac diseases that can damage and kill large amounts of heart muscle cells."
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MIT Researchers Grow Beating Heart Tissue

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  • Last time my flesh got hit with current, I sure as hell twicthed! What's so cool about this?
  • Um, no (Score:2, Funny)

    by Apreche ( 239272 )
    The next phase is myomer [tierranet.com]. The fictional "muscles" used in Battletech 'mech construction. They are supposedly strong fibers that expand and contract when you pass current through them, or something to that effect.

    Giant robots here we come!
    • Yeah, but do you really want to run around in a Mackey? I'd wait until you can get your hands on a Black Knight at the very least.
  • Cool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OAB_X ( 818333 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @08:11PM (#11088006)
    It certainly has a lot of "wow" factor to it. But it will probably not be ready for humans for several years. When they start doing things like this with human hearts start getting excited. After all, while rats are similar to humans in that they are mammals, its not like you can use rat heart cells in humans, at least, and have it work well.
    • It's not that humans and rat's have a similar brain, or similar hands or only that they are mammals.

      They are a lot of other mammals far less useful than rats. That's because rats and humans have a similar immnune system, one that has to resist to several kinds of infections.

      And transplant related issues are very much immune system issues, because when a transplant fails, it's often because the immnune system rejects it.

      That's the reason they use rats for this and chimps for brain related stuff. Being jus
  • ITS ALIVE, its alive!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So they can take a bunch of rat neurons [wired.com] and hook them up to a flight simulator and teach it (them?) to fly with success. Now we've got heart parts from rat cells. Awesome. I for one welcome Pinky and the Brain. Ruling, er.
  • This represents the first time scientists have succeeded in using an electrical current to produce dense heart tissue that beats in a rhythm mimicking that of a live animal's heart.

    They are calling themself researchers but they never watched that frankenstein documentary?
  • I want a better heart, even though the one I have works just fine. Someday Olympic athletes will have to have their hearts certified as their own, that no doctor has altered it to gain an edge in sports.
    • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @10:47PM (#11089301) Journal
      No, some day they'll dump the stupid concept that you should be unaltered to enter the Olympics. When that happens the Olympics will become truly spectacular as competitors use training and a mixture of electronic, chemical and biological enhancement to perform feats that are currently undreamt of by athletes. Athletes who refuse to modify themselves will be seen as a curiously old-fashioned bunch of old fuddy duddies.
      • Athletes who refuse to modify themselves will be seen as a curiously old-fashioned bunch of old fuddy duddies.
        You say that as if all the countries entering the Olympics have the money to offer that to their athletes...why do we even let all the countries participate anyway? If we want to allow all of this, we might as well kick a whole bunch of them out. Phew, you're right...that is a stupid concept.
    • Re:Don't stop there (Score:3, Informative)

      by tsa ( 15680 )
      I want a better heart because mine doesn't work very well. So I hope to live to see the day this becomes reality. I wonder how much more difficult it is to make a whole heart using this tissue instead of just patches.
  • If they diddnt kill one rat to patch the heart of another, they would have the same number of rats, while saving a hell of a lot of effort.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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