How To Mend A Broken Heart

This story on artificial hearts is part of an extended series on Regenerative Medicine. For other stories on this topic see and search for Regenerative Medicine. My definition of Regenerative Medicine is any medical modality that returns us to normal health when we are damaged by disease, injured by trauma, disadvantaged by birth, or worn by time. Modalities include: chemicals, genes, proteins and cells used as drugs, gene editing, prosthetics, and mind-machine interfaces.

Heart disease affects approximately 82.6 million people in the United States and is a leading cause of death among both men and women. One solution for those suffering from advanced heart failure is heart transplantation. Unfortunately, there is currently a nationwide shortage of human donor hearts. Scientists have attempted to create artificial hearts or use pig organs in lieu of human hearts for transplantation surgeries. However, current methods to produce artificial hearts are generally unsuccessful and the use of pig organs for transplants can lead to serious infections.

Now, a group at Harvard University is tackling this issue through a new, innovative method of growing artificial hearts. By building an artificial structure and implanting cardiac cells, researchers were able to grow the cardiac cells in a pattern that mimicked the natural organization of muscles in the heart. This study serves as a significant stepping stone toward developing artificial hearts that are fully functional.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.