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Biotech Science

Grow Your Own Heart Valves 180

jcr writes "Medical researchers in Britain have succeeded in growing a heart valve from adult stem cells taken from bone marrow. The research is being reported in the journal of the Royal Society today. Growing a heart value from your own cells means that tissue rejection isn't an issue."
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Grow Your Own Heart Valves

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  • Whole heart next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:29AM (#20463915) Homepage Journal
    So how far does this leave us from growing a whole heart? Or other organs?

    At some point, transplants from donors will be for emergencies only, and the shortages and wait lists will be a thing of the past.
  • Yeah! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:29AM (#20463919) Homepage
    As the owner of a slightly defective valve, I feel encouraged that when the time comes, I'll have my own supply of spare parts. (Or will be able to use loaners while mine are being grown.) Good work, folks!
  • by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:36AM (#20463997) Homepage
    ...won't this be a problem if there's a genetic defect in the patient's heart valves? In other words, won't the replacement be following the same DNA blueprint, and have the same problems?

    IANanMD, but I would think this would pose problems with usability, wouldn't it?
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:44AM (#20464079) Homepage Journal
    ...and the anti-genetic manipulation extremists will take issue with this kind of research. The religious folks will say we're playing god and that it's not good to fight his will. "If his will was for you to have faulty heart valves that it's probably a punishment because you've done something wrong. Maybe you didn't support president Bush, or you faltered in your stance against gays, or you said 'hi' to a liberal moonbat, or didn't tithe on Sunday. Whatever the case, you're a sinner and deserve to burn in hell for all eternity so he made your heart valves faulty. Just get right with God and he'll recreate your heart valves so that they're as good as a new born's". (No, I'm not being hyperbolic, I've dealt with christian fundamentalists who actually think and say things like this)

    On the other hand, the extremist anti-genetic manipulation folks will say, "This goes against nature. We do so many things that violate the rules of nature which is why the Earth is at such a treacherous tipping point. There are too many people alive at this moment because of the artificial system's we've put in place to help them survive. This contradicts the survival of the fittest and provides us with nothing but an oversurplus of people who just shouldn't be alive right now. This means we're going to exceed the Earth's ability to support life (carrying capacity). By being able to grant people with faulty heart valves longer lives, we're only making the problem worse. Do NOT support the this research. It is an anti-Earth stance and is unsound science".

    Meanwhile more people continue to die for oil in Iraq in a war founded on lies. No, the terrorists of 9/11 were not Iraqis. Get over the fact that you were lied to.
  • Re:Whole heart next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:57AM (#20464225) Homepage
    "Embryonic stemm (sic) cells however can change into anything, without any modification. They are much easier to work with, and as of a couple of years ago they were the only option."

    However, left to his own devices in his native environment, a human embryo will develop into an autonomous human. You are taking a life and converting it into property without giving that life a chance to decide.How does harvesting an embryo not equate to slavery? We Americans fought a war over this 150 years ago, and I find it amazing that, by changing the perception of "when life begins," some Americans think it's okay. I would have less problem with embryonic stem cells _if_ the embryo were not destroyed.

    The promise of adult stem cells has yet to be fully explored, and I'm glad research is bearing fruit and receiving media attention. As you say, embryonic cells are potentially easier to deal with. Managing slaves is easier than working with a union; but which is more moral?
  • Re:Whole heart next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:09AM (#20464387) Homepage Journal
    If you want to save your child's stem cells for their own use later, don't you preserve the umbilical cord?

    Yup: [] (warning: some not-so-pretty pictures)

    Check out the section on cord blood.
  • Yay heart valves (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:31AM (#20464709)
    As a person born with a bicuspid Aorta valve (In other words, my Aorta valve, the valve that pumps blood to most of the body, has two flaps instead of three) this excites me greatly. Since I was born I've had to live every year with the possibility that I would have to have a mechanical implant if I ever overexerted my heart. I truly, truly hope that this caches on, not just for me but for the 1 in 300 (According to my cardiologist the number is that high) people who have the same or similar conditions to me.

    Praise science!

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger