The technique is to use the matrix of an organ and tissue to grow from a stem cell seeding
The artificial heart of the future could be biological. It’s not a pun. It would, in a few years if the process works, the closest thing to create a heart. But do not start from scratch. The novelty of the technique, explains the head of cardiology at the hospital Gregorio Maranon de Madrid Francisco Fernandez-Aviles is that it uses a kind of mold. In this case, it ruled out a heart transplant.
The first step is to treat this body with an enzymatic detergent to eliminate the donor cells. The result is that the flesh is dissolved, and allowed to clean the matrix of the heart (which would be if we were talking skeleton of bone or connective tissue made up of infrastructure in this case). From there, the structure is grown stem cells to regenerate heart. This step is complicated, but since there is a history (it has done with trachea and small animals, says Fernandez Aviles). But there is one step: that the structure, properly irrigated, is made to beat.
This is a pioneering experiment involving the Gregorio Maranon, University of Minnesota and the National Transplant Organization funded (700,000 euros) from the Ministry of Science and Innovation within the project called SAGE (Scaffolds and bioartificial Organs for Transplantation). So it is not going to be very strict with stem cells that will be used (and is growing). But in future, be chosen to be the person who is going to implement this heart to avoid rejection. Of course, for that, “it will be years,” says Fernandez-Aviles.
The idea that a number of stem cells are made to beat is not new. We have seen with biological materials, suddenly, they begin to beat in unison. Same thing happens to the embryos in the natural environment, that when a critical mass of heart cells begin to expand and contract naturally, long before a heart concerned itself with its caves, its valves and their ability to pumping blood.
Moreover, even if not able to regenerate a whole heart, it is possible to reach some of their structures (valves, muscles, blood vessels) that could be used for autologous transplantation, the researchers said.
For now, the first step is underway: the heart was received on Sunday, and tomorrow will be clean and the structure of cells to start the new plant.