How many people could benefit from having an organ lab-grown? In the United States alone, there are over 100K people on the waiting list for lifesaving organ transplants.
Researching in Japan have carried out there very first transplant using lab-grown heart muscle cells, which is a move that could significantly reduce the most significant need for a heart transplant. As scientists move to make more and more changes to the way that we can utilize lab-grown muscle and organs, this is a start that can lead to reducing the number of people on the transplant list.
The scientist that is working on this is from Osaka University. They first took adult stem cells and reprogrammed back into their embryonic-like state. From that point, it just the scientist ability to coax the cells and create them to whatever they want. In this case, they were able to coax it into a heart muscle cell.
To make this happen, they had to place the cells on a degradable sheet and used them to cover the damaged areas of the patient’s heart. In this case, the patient’s heart had difficulty pumping because its muscles don’t receive enough blood. So depending on how severe the condition
would require a heart transplant that will help regenerate certain blood vessels and giving improving the heart’s overall function.
This is not going to be a short test run; this will be spread out over three years. It will give the researches and scientists time to see what they need to do to make it more useful or if it will stick longterm with the patient. The plan will be to monitor them for the first year and see how viable it will be long term and if it could be an alternative to a heart transplant.
It could be easier for the lab to create cells than it is to find a suitable donor that will work with all the limitations and give a less likely for the heart to be rejected y the recipient’s immune system. With the first patient already having this done, now we wait to see how viable a solution it is for the lab-created cells to stay stable long term.