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BRITISH TEAM GROWS HUMAN HEART VALVE FROM STEM CELLS

REPLACEMENT TISSUE FOR TRANSPLANTS COULD BE AVAILABLE WITHIN THREE YEARS IF TRIALS ARE SUCCESSFUL

heart.crop1.jpg Now we’re talking. This is good news for anyone suffering from cronic heart disease.

But the longstanding implications of this announcement are far greater, since a significant by-product of this research is an acceleration of the day when doctors will be able to grow replacement organs specific to an for individual. This will eliminate the need for today’s best option, the transplant process. Organs genetically matched for the individual will eliminate the lifetime need for immune supression drugs, and the toll that those take on the body. - LIB

A British research team led by the world’s leading heart surgeon has grown part of a human heart from stem cells for the first time. If animal trials scheduled for later this year prove successful, replacement tissue could be used in transplants for the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from heart disease within three years.

Sir Magdi Yacoub, a professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London, has worked on ways to tackle the shortage of donated hearts for transplant for more than a decade. His team at the heart science centre at Harefield hospital have grown tissue that works in the same way as the valves in human hearts, a significant step towards the goal of growing whole replacement hearts from stem cells.

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