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Bioreactors Engineer Tissue To Mend Heart Damage

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the make-yourself-better dept.

Medicine 46

Hugh Pickens writes "Heart attacks usually cause irreversible damage to heart muscle and, because cells lost from the heart do not grow back naturally, leave the organ in a weakened and vulnerable state that may cause another serious condition — called heart failure — if the victim survives. Now a team of scientists led by Tal Dvir from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva has developed a tissue-engineering technique, using the body as a 'bioreactor,' to create a 'patch' made from heart muscle that can be used to fix scarring left over from a heart attack. First, a biodegradable 'scaffold' is seeded with immature cells taken from the hearts of newborn rats. For 48 hours, the scaffold is exposed to a cocktail of growth-promoting chemicals in the laboratory and is then transplanted into a rat's abdomen where it develops a network of blood vessels and muscle fibers. After seven days the patch is removed and grafted onto the animal's heart. A month later the patch has completely integrated itself into the heart, synchronizing its 'beat' with that of the surrounding tissue. 'Using the body as a bioreactor to engineer cardiac tissue with stable and functional blood vessel networks represents a significant improvement in cardiac patch performance over ex vivo (outside the body) methods currently used for patch production,' write the authors. The technique is also being developed for livers and bladders."

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46 comments

Just wait (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211911)

... for nationalized healthcare to take out the (monetary) incentive of creating cool stuff like this.

Re:Just wait (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211925)

it's sad that a monetary incentive is necessary for people to create cool, useful stuff that can better mankind...

Re:Just wait (-1, Offtopic)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212011)

it's sad that a monetary incentive is necessary for people to create cool, useful stuff

But it's also about fairness. You want everyone to work to benefit you, but are unwilling to benefit them back in any manner. Let's keep the world free, and not force/guilt/manipulate people into working for free.

Re:Just wait (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212601)

"I hereby sentence you to a term of no less than 6 years and not exceeding 12 years" bellowed the Judge at my court case. You could tell in the sterness of his voice and his general demeanor that he took delight in sending scum like me up the river. A fucking DUI that ended up killing some black kid in Detroit was all it took to sealed my fate for the next decade. I had thoughts of appeal but I figured it wouldn't be worth the little savings I had left and my sentence would probably stand. To this day I still believe had the kid been white, my life would have been much easier, inside and outside of prison.

Now, don't believe what you see on Televison about prison, it is a far worse place than any 32" screen could every conjure up. Imagine watching an MSNBC special on jail or an episode of OZ and take that experience and double it. That's about the wretched hell I have come to know for the past 3 1/2 years. Sometimes I don't know who is worse and my already fazed and battered mind, the prison guards or the inmates. It really takes a certain type of psychopath to want to work around this place, 8 hours a day or longer and that's exactly the type of labor pool this place picks from.

I can't say my first week was the worst week of my life, but I can certainly say it was the scariest, most horrifying change change in lifestyle I can remember. The dynamic between my old life as a software developer with a modest 1 bedroom downtime, to sharing a tiny cell with a sexual deviant is enough to make anyone go insane. But anyway let me talk about my first day of 12 long years here.

As I was escorted on to the prison bound bus with the day's newly convicted felons, it was already starting. I was chained next to this black man named Napps. I am sure this wasn't his real name but you can't tell these days with the way these people are named. Now Napps was a pretty built man, and I could tell by the excess amount of tattos and his attitude, that this wasn't the first time he was getting bussed off to a stint in the State Penetentary. Napps upon being forced to sit next to me had given me a look that you would imagine a wolf would give towards their defenseless prey. That was what I officially was now, defensless prey for Napps and God knows who else now. Napps, with a smug and deviously look in his eye asked me "What's a white boy like yourself doing going to the shit?". "Pardon?", I said uneasily almost choking on my words. "This white boy dinks we at da country club.", he said to the rest of the bus, while the bus started roaring in laughter. Now all eyes and ears on the bus were tuned in to me. "I says, wat a tender cracka like you doing here wit the rest of us?", he said in a more pointed fashion. "I'm here...for drunk driving. I killed someone in Brightmore", I shamefully admitted. "So you the motherfucka who killed dat black kid!", now furious with me. The rest of the bus, still focused on me began roaring again loudly as if my crime is more terrible than raping and killing a white woman in the suburbs (I eventually find this out later on). "You lucky da guards are here bitch, you hear me? When we get down to the shit, your ass belongs to the blacks, you got it cracker?". My heart jumped, not even in prison yet, and I am already targeted for what I am sure is to be a stabbing. Shit.

The bus finally turned into the outer gate, which seemed to stretch on for ever, Napps was still from time to time threatening me. I didn't think I would even make it into prison alive. "So you kill one of ours, huh?", he uttered with extreme hatred. "Well, I took one of yours too bitch ass. 4 of my boys went to your white part of town and and took a bitch. We ran a train on dat fo 8 hours, den we pours acid on that cunt", he must have enjoyed the thought as he laughed sadisticly while telling me his crime. As we got manhandled off of the bus one by one, Napps turned around and said "watch yo ass, lit'ry!", before being forced face first by the guard.

By now I was too much in shock from being scared to even be scared. I went through the motions of "processing" before I was escorted to my cell. The bunk was already occupied with an inmate, reading some sort of hip-hop magazine. I was pushed into my cell, and my new roommate eyed me and said "So you the nigga killer?". "It's gonna be you and me tonight", he threatened as I already had my fill of being threatened by prison niggers. It was already about 8:30 and since our bus got delayed coming in, and I knew that in a half an hour it was going to be 'me and him'.

"Lights out! Lights fucking out!" Yelled from the distance as the boom of the dimming lights started my first night. "You and me time, cracker" the hulking voice from the top of the bunk whispered. He came down from his bunk getting about 6 inches away from me and must have been 6 foot five. I started panicking, believing he had a shank or was going to choke me to death but it was too dark to tell. He moved his hands down around his crotch and made several 'manuveurs'. Before I knew it, still being dark, he had his cock out in front of me, which must have been at least 8 inches but probably 10 if I could see. "Yo want to ack like a bitch, you gonna suck like one too". His giant hands pushed me into my knees while he began putting his already erect cock up towards my face. By now his throbbing cock was hitting me on the side of my ear as he kept commanding me to open my mouth. "Put this shit down yo throat bitch", he commanded again while I still resisted. "Boy, I will cut yo throat if I gots to say it another time", he responded to my reluctance.

I finally gave in, thinking that this was probably still better than death. I opened my mouth and began feeding his nigger cock into my mouth. This was not enough for him and he grabbed my hair while he forced the rest of what was probably 5 inches more down my throat. I almost gagged but maintained composure, while he started skull fucking me more and more. I figured this would soon be over and I would be able to go cry myself to sleep very soon. He then pulled out and I thought the worst was over. "Bitches need a good fuck now too", he said while he threw me in my bunk and made me get on my hands and knees. He forced my pants down and kept me in place even while I tried my best to squirm out of there and go...nowhere. His cock still hard and wet with my mouth, he pushed his cock into my virgin asshole. I swear, between his cock size and my clenching reaction, this was the most painful experience I have can remember. The car accident that brought me here didn't even hurt half as bad. He kept going at it while he pulled my hair and pinned me down with his giant body. I tried to scream for help but nothing would even coming out. The only sounds now coming out of my cell was the cyclic screeching of springs and the "Hmm! Hmm! Hmm!" of my new found rapist. When it was finally over, he had deposited a gigantic load of semen on my ass, and with his cock still in my ass whispered in my ear "Wait till the rest of the niggers break you in tomorrow". He kissed me on the cheek and left my limp body in my own bed as he climbed back up to his bunk.

3 spinchter surgeries and an HIV positive diagnosis later, I am 3 year into my prison sentence, and worth about a pack of Pall Malls. I constantly think of killing myself but I know I don't have the guts to do so. Napps, Tbone, and Shades are back and I have little time now before I get traded on the nigger exchange. I thought I would share my experiences on Slashdot and let people know how prison reall
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Re:Just wait (2, Informative)

pchan- (118053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212007)

This research was done in Israel, a country that has (*gasp*) nationalized health care.

Re:Just wait (4, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212309)

Israel doesn't quite have "Nationalized health care" in the way you're claiming.

Israel's system is much closer to the Massachusetts system whereby insurance is compulsory, but multiple organizations still compete for members (they each get a percentage of the national fund equal to their registered percentage of population). Organizational differences (most notably, that the free "minimum care" package provided to all Israelis is not nearly as comprehensive as what Massachusetts demands as a minimum-coverage standard, and most Israelis wind up purchasing "supplemental packages" at increased expense) account for why Israel's system is not failing, whereas Massachusetts's model has gone deeply into the red.

Re:Just wait (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213141)

Actually it hasn't gone into the red at all. That is entirely false. It is in fact a source of pride for the state that so many people are joining up. They allocated a specific budget based on how many people they thought would sign up for the program. As the popularity of the program grew more people than they expected began to join, and now they are preparing to increase the annual budget to cover the costs.

Re:Just wait (1, Offtopic)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212129)

Wow, about as insightful as the deathpanel nonsense.

First off...what? Research isn't driven by insurance companies, so I'm having a hard time understanding how that would remove incentives of any type. With nationalized healthcare are people going to still have heart attacks? Yes. Are people going to pay a lot of money for this to recover from a heart attack? Yes. Are people going to fund research like this? Obviously. I'm not seeing anything to suggest that our health insurance industry is responsible for any innovation besides the new ways of denying coverage they find. I realize I'm not an expert in the insurance field, so I'm willing to listen to your evidence as to how researchers in Israel (which APPEARS TO HAVE NATIONALIZED HEALTHCARE [wikipedia.org] ) are funded by our healthcare system.

You seem to be suffering from the notion that the only reason researchers, doctors, and scientists come up with stuff is to make a boatload of money. That's absurd. That is a motivating factor for some researchers. Definitely not all, and definitely not most. Maybe that's why most medical doctors get into the biz, but as a scientist currently earning less than I would on unemployment [phdcomics.com] ... no. Just no. Even if it weren't for the money, there'd still be the accolades (beyond /. of course), the respect, the research grants, the good feeling that comes from coming up with something that saves lives, and the satisfaction that comes from discovery, to drive them on.

Hell, I'm a grad student, so I am proof the accolades, money, respect, grants, and good feelings of any type are even dispensable: some of us do it because we're masochists.

Great (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211949)

Now we just need a supply of newborn humans to take heart cells from, and we'll be able to apply the same technique :D

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212053)

Moron. You need newborn rats to make this technique work. Duhhh

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212351)

Or stem cells.... but they won't let us use those either.

Re:Great (0, Troll)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212387)

I propose we use the Irish children.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212833)

Someone hasn't read "A Modest Proposal", I see.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213119)

why is this modded troll?

Re:Great (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220307)

Because someone hasn't read 'A Modest Proposal', has no sense of humor, and thought the 'politically correct' thing to do would be to mod it troll. Ah, the uneducated/politically correct crowd!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29223271)

And yet, over 4 hours later, it still is modded troll. Will no literate person fix the injustice?! Wait... do mods usually have the ability to read?

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212489)

No no no, it's easier than that. Remember, a newborn isn't even human until they've had some real world experience. Before that they're just a cluster of cells and fair game for harvesting.

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Re:Great (5, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212509)

Yeah yeah, funny. But there's a very serious side to this joke. Where *are* all these cells going to come from? Well, it looks like the answer is just about here - YOU! [time.com] See, scientists are rapidly unlocking the code behind what is a "stem cell" and are able to reprogram them to be whatever you want them to be.

In the (near!) future, you may be able to regenerate heart tissue, liver tissue, or (in my case) new teeth, simply by taking a small skin scraping, culturing the cells, reprogramming them into stem cells, or into whatever type of cell is actually needed - teeth, heart, liver, or whatever.

The resulting tissue could then be surgically implanted with zero risk of rejection, since they are cells from your own body, with your DNA/RNA and so on!

This is a brave new world that includes (at last!) a cure for Type I Diabetes, Parkinsons, heart disease, bad teeth, and too many other illnesses to name.

For example, there was a cure for Diabetes YEARS AGO called the Edmonton Protocol [wikipedia.org] that had the unfortunate side effect of requiring hundreds of donor cadavers. I was, for a while, intensely excited (one of my oldest sons is Type 1 Diabetic) but the donor cadavers does present just a *bit* of a problem.

But suddenly, now, donors aren't a problem. If I need islet cells, I can donate a bit of skin tissue! Or even have a liposuction!

This isn't big. This isn't huge. This is world-changing.

Re:Great (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29214337)

It would be world changing, but it certainly isn't in the near future. It's a scaling problem: any human-useful structure is hundreds of grams of tissue. Even with exponential growth, stem cell labs have trouble producing single digit grams of cells, let alone intact tissues of millimeter thickness.

This stuff works pretty well in mice and rats - ectopic formation and vascularization of muscle has been known for years - because those animals are small enough that useful tissue can get its initial nutrition by diffusion. Think 100 microns, paper-thin. To generate a human-useful tissue replacement, you'd need to start with a vascularized construct, and that's a long way off. We'll get there, but I think we're as far from stem-cell mediated tissue replacement as the Wright brothers were from the moon.

Google Books (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211977)

Restricted Page
You have reached your viewing limit for this book (why? [google.com] ).

Motown will never be the same (0, Offtopic)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212015)

Motown will never be the same now that we can answer back to the song "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?"

How casually evil (2, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212037)

"First, a biodegradable 'scaffold' is seeded with immature cells taken from the hearts of newborn rats."

Next, moisten the scaffolding with the tears of orphaned fur seal cubs. Add the growth media consisting of ground up puppy bones and in 3 or 4 weeks, you will see the first growth in your heart patch.

Unfortunately, this technique seems inadequate to patch my empty heart. No matter how many times I try.

Re:How casually evil (0, Offtopic)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212045)

Unfortunately, this technique seems inadequate to patch my empty heart. No matter how many times I try.

Try using enough small children as cell donors.

Re:How casually evil (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212203)

I wonder how much will take to scientists start to grow entire human organs in a lab...

It will somewhat simplify these moral questions.

Re:How casually evil (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212161)

No, no. You have to 'moisten' the 'scaffolding' with the 'tears' of 'orphaned' 'fur' seal 'cubs.'

Re:How casually evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29215249)

There is a grain of truth in your "casually evil" protocol. The growth media most commonly used in tissue culture labs around the world is supplemented with Fetal Bovine Serum, which is derived from blood collected from unborn calves. So, no ground up puppies, but the blood of almost fully-developed calves isnÂt too far off!

hooray! (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212157)

Another new technology! Hope it's not so expensive that my insurance company will deny it to me. Or my government, if that's how the tail swings. In fact, maybe I'll just go sit under a tree and die. It will be more romantic. Romantic in the artistic sense, which is the kind all slashdotters can relate to.

Re:hooray! (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213073)

This being slashdot, and slashdot being what it is, I think you meant autistic.

Re:hooray! (3, Funny)

Bazer (760541) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213381)

In fact, maybe I'll just go sit under a tree and die. It will be more romantic. Romantic in the artistic sense, which is the kind all slashdotters can relate to.

I don't get it. Is it a binary tree?

Re:hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29215807)

It is far more likely that your insurance company would deny it to you because it's an experimental treatment, and they would probably continue to consider it experimental for the next twenty or thirty years.

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212275)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Re:i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212549)

That's O.K. after sitting in the sun for long enough it will eventually turn white.

Will they mend all broken hearts ? (0)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212355)

What about the hearts broken of geeks by hot blondes all over the world ?

Re:Will they mend all broken hearts ? (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212567)

If your heart is broken by a blonde you're not a geek!

A real geek's heart breaks when his water-cooling system breaks ...

Only in Israel... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212639)

I know starting a political thread online is asking for guaranteed disaster, but whatever, it's late and I feel like expounding..

Israel. A tiny piece of country with hardly any natural resources to speak of and a large chunk of its GDP going annually toward its very survival, and this is the type of news coming out of there almost weekly.

Surrounded by oil-drenched, massive nations with nothing to lose, who produce practically nothing to contribute to the global human equation each year, besides hate rhetoric and abuse of human rights.

A place where democracy, free speech, and protection of religion are fundamental and constitutional rights. Where a major religion other than Judaism peacefully founded its headquarters (Ba'hai) and countless sub-groups live side by side (the Druz, the Bedhouins, Christians, Israeli Arabs, etc.), all protected under the same democracy.

This tiny nation whose brain power, intellectually liberal atmosphere, and the research and development born out of those elements are its only substantial exports.

Perfect track record? Hardly. But it sickens me that Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan are run as third world monarchies and dictatorships, with torture, suppression of the press and intimidation as par for their courses, yet get little press. Perhaps because people just don't want to confront "yet another" regime.

I just wish people would use all of their clearly available energy to start looking at all the wonderful neighbors in the region, complete with how they've treated their own Palestinian "problems".

Israel pushes ahead daily in science, math, engineering, medicine. How many articles do you see posted on here of Riyadh's glorious accomplishments? And they have just a few more bucks to throw around.

None of this makes Israel any more or less culpable in its involvement in the region's problems, but I just wish for once the hypocrisy would stop and people would turn the same critical eye toward the third world barbarisms that surround it.

You have a country that's looking more and more like Kendall Sq. and Silicon Valley every day, solving real problems and making real contributions to the world community. In fact, I wonder how many /. readers would rather find themselves in downtown Damascus or Aman than Tel Aviv, while having to openly declare their faith (or heck- lack thereof!)

It's an oasis of intellectualism and personal freedoms in a desert of suppression and despotism. I just wish more stories like TFA made it to the headlines than whether or not they gave enough warning time to their enemies before deploying potentially too-lethal munitions to stop rocket attacks. So thanks, /., for at least exposing on a regular basis what this country really signifies!

axlotl tanks, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213339)

Well, just a *bit* further and wars will be fought over 'harvesting women' again, but this time to convert them into axlotl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_of_the_Dune_universe) tanks...

Say it... (1)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220935)

...three times fast:
Tal Dvir from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva
Tal Dvir from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva
Tal Dvir from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva

Blarrrrrurrrurrr. Uck!
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