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Stem Cells in the Heart?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the heart-could-be-heartier dept.

158

NewScientist reports that researchers have discovered stem cells in the heart, leading them to believe that the heart can regenerate itself. From the article: "The finding raises the possibility that these cardiac stem cells could one day be manipulated to rebuild tissues damaged by heart disease - still the leading cause of death in the US and UK. Because fully developed heart cells do not divide, experts have believed the organ was unable to regenerate after injury. But, in 2003, researchers at Piero Anversa's laboratory at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, US, discovered stem cells in the hearts of mice, and subsequently humans. However, they still did not know whether these stem cells actually resided in the heart or had merely migrated there from another tissue, such as bone marrow."

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Hmmm (-1)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426608)

Great....

Now instead of heart attacks from clogged arteries, people can get heart attacks from a kidney forming inside of their heart!

and

First Post?

You are gay (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426674)

Fristy pornstar does not matter

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426677)

Now instead of heart attacks from clogged arteries, people can get heart attacks from a kidney forming inside of their heart!

At least people don't need to worry anymore that they'll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a fresh scar on their side. Why steal a kidney when you can take a heart instead and get a 2-for-1 deal?

what exactly is the news here? (5, Informative)

aliscool (597862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426609)

Hey, I'm not a stem cell researcher, and I did read the article...
But there was really not much actual science in this article.
Are we talking about adult, embryonic or.. I assume not, but cord blood stem cells.
I assume we are talking about adult stem cells. These have been discovered and are old news. In fact adult stem cells exist in basically any tissue, which includes the heart... So what exactly was the big news story here about?

Re:what exactly is the news here? (5, Insightful)

Adriax (746043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426627)

Well, since you aren't a researcher, lemme translate.

"Stem cells! Stem cells! Look, we found stem cells! Give us more grant money!"

Re:what exactly is the news here? (2)

aliscool (597862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426633)

now that makes perfect sense.
I was you know thinking of the actual science here, I forgot about the power of hype and the all mighty grant money:)

Re:what exactly is the news here? (5, Insightful)

Metaleks (977598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426630)

The big news is that the heart was thought that it couldn't repair itself after damage has occurred. Damage like minor heart attacks (which people often don't even know about, yet still have them) create scars on the heart. Over time, the build up of these scars reduces the hearts ability to function properly. Now we learn, that there may be new hope in a heart that could regenerate. Think of all the lives that could be saved. That's the big deal!

Re:what exactly is the news here? (5, Informative)

Doctor Beavis (571080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426652)

Sort of. The news that there are cells in the heart that can impact repair was news - in 2003, as the article mentioned. This story was that they have gotten better at identifying where those cells are. An important step, but not as important as the 2003 step was.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (2)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426853)

Like the first poster, I'm no biologist, but I'm under the impression that stem cells replicate the cells they are around. If that's the case, then why CAN'T the heart replicate itself? If the cells are there, and the time is provided, shouldn't these stem cells become new heart tissue?

Re:what exactly is the news here? (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427013)

It maybe that it can. A problem could be that the damaged tissue never leaves though. This would make it apear to not be repiard and maybe even introduce other problems.

It would be interesting to find out what the effects of removing the damaged tissue might be. Could it be possible that new functional tissue would grow in its place? Maybe enough to get the job done? Of course this is speaking from not knowing how the damaged tissue effect the hearts operation or if it has been tried before.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (2, Informative)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426949)

Growing New Heart Tissue [popsci.com]

Although I tend to think that popular science articles like this one are more "look at the cool gadgets we want to exist in 20 years" rather than "look at the cool gadgets that will exist in 20 years," I think this article is very relevant to this topic, especially what you were saying about the heart regenerating itself after damage from minor attacks.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (1)

dianna_wills (973991) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426637)

I do agree with you. The news sounds too deja vu-ish.

Plus, there are other options on the 'market' right now. Babies, dead babies, pigs (more like transplant) and even cows (I watched 'House' for this, assuming it's true especially for Bowel transplant).

Maybe I watched TV too much. Hm~

Re:what exactly is the news here? (5, Informative)

Doctor Beavis (571080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426646)

I'm doing some stem cell work in a very similar area and may be able to clarify a few points:

1. They are not talking about embryonic cells. These are often referred to as "cardiac stem cells" and we each have them in our hearts. Thus they would be considered adult stem cells. As mentioned, their existence was established by Anversa's lab (and confirmed by others) a few years ago. That was a huge milestone, because we previously believed that all cells in the heart were "terminally differentiated" or incapable of generating new cells. We now know that there *are* cells in the hear that can do this, but not fast enough to make a difference in most cases. For example, if you have a heart attack, part of the muscle dies. For whatever reason (not enough cells, don't replicate fast enough, etc.), the cardiac stem cells are unable to completely repair the damage. Current trials of stem cells in the heart have focused on delivering cells derived from other sources (bone marrow, muscle cells, etc.), but it would be ideal to understand enough about the cardiac stem cells to be able to just "activate" them or at least improve the efficiency of what they do.

2. You are absolutely right we are talking about adult stem cells and even that those exist in the heart is old news. The only news here is that this is a step towards identifying them more efficiently/effectively (which would help as alluded to in my point #1). It's an important step, but an incremental one and I don't think it merited a Slashdot story - I agree with you that it's not that big of a deal.

Cardiac Scar Tissue Mechanism (1)

Morris Schneiderman (132974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426971)

Since most cells in the heart are "terminally differentiated" or incapable of generating new cells, where does cardiac scar tissue come from when some cardiac tissue dies?

Either some of those termianlly differentiated cells regress to an earlier state and then divide to create scar tissue, or scar tissue is the result of rapid division by cardiac stem cells, or there's something else happenning.

Does anyone have any data on this?

Re:what exactly is the news here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426728)

Are we talking about adult, embryonic or..

How about consulting a dictionary?

Embryonic... embryo... fetus.
Adult... not a fetus.
A fetus doesn't have a heart.

Can you do the math by yourself?

In fact adult stem cells exist in basically any tissue, which includes the heart... So what exactly was the big news story here about?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. They don't exist in any tissue. Educate yourself before someone takes you seriously.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (0)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426804)

Your second-to-last sentence, as written, denies the existence of adult stem cells, which is blatantly false. Educate yourself on grammar, then someone might take you seriously.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (1)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426743)

Ahh, but did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express?

Re:what exactly is the news here? (1)

hotarugari (525375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426849)

The fact that stem cells reside "permanently" in the heart which provide the ability to rejenerate to some degree.

Everything else you will find in a modern A&P textbook.

Re:what exactly is the news here? (2, Interesting)

Memnos (937795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427259)

TFA didn't really go into any depth, but the news, if there is any, would depend upon how pluripotent the stem cells are; that is, what types of fully-formed cells they can produce. For a heart to regenerate after an insult such as an infarction, numerous cell types must be regenerated, from cardiac myocytes to the specialized neurons that synchronize the heartbeat (e.g. the sino-atrial complex). So, depending on what they can get to regenerate Real Soon Now, it may in fact be news.

Oh no (5, Funny)

smvp6459 (896580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426610)

Does this mean I won't be getting that gorilla heart?

Re:Oh no (2, Funny)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426940)

Does this mean I won't be getting that gorilla heart?

Even better: you could grow a new gorilla heart, if that kind of thing floats your boat. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it does, along with having a chicken brain implanted in your butt to drive your legs more efficiently.

Protest (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426640)

Let me be the first to say I oppose removal of people's hearts to extract stem cells from them.

Re:Protest (4, Funny)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426645)

Removal of a person's heart to extract stem cells from it STOPS A BEATING HEART!!!!!

that is all.

Re:Protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426666)

Please be advised the parent was an attempt at humor. I doubt that it was a real suggested course of action. However (IANAD (I am not a doctor)), It would probably would be possible to biopsy a small enough sample without causing long term problems.

Re:Protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426732)

But seriously -- If the person is going to die of heart disease anyway why not take their heart out and get stem cells to cure diseases. Its no different than getting embrionic stem cells.

Re:Protest (1, Funny)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426761)

In Soviet Russia, Heart stops beating YOU!

Re:Protest (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426962)

Removal of a person's heart to extract stem cells from it STOPS A BEATING HEART!!!!!

No it doesn't. Haven't you ever seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

Not only does a removed heart not stop beating, it also bursts into flame. That's wicked cool.

Re:Protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15427025)

Ah, but what if they first casted heart of stone?

hello i am a potato (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426649)

hello i am a potato

Re:hello i am a potato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426691)

You shall become a poutine.

Heard of this before.... (4, Informative)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426650)

This was news a few years ago when some folks got an electric pump installed to assist their failing heart, and their OEM heart recovered to the point where the pump was no longer needed.

Fantastic they discovered stems cells, but the heart repairing itself when relieved of load is not news.

(btw, I don't remember the name of the device used when they discovered this, but it was basically a small, simple liquid pump installed next to the heart. They didn't try to mimic a pulse, figuring it was unneccesary. They were right.)

Pumps (4, Informative)

Doctor Beavis (571080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426664)

These pumps are called LVADs, or Left Ventricular Assist Devices, and they have been widely used for years (and continue to be). Here's one site [chfpatients.com] with some pretty general, readable information on them. There are a few varieties (some provide pulsatile flow, like the HeartMate XVE) and some provide axial, non-pulsatile flow (HeartMate II). I don't work for Thoratec, but those are by far the most commonly used ones at my institution. Here is a link to some videos [thoratec.com] from Thoratec if you're interested. Hope you find this useful.

Re:Pumps (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427329)

I don't work for Thoratec, but those are by far the most commonly used ones at my institution.

With a username of Dr. Beavis, I hope to God you don't work for them :)

Re:Heard of this before.... (3, Interesting)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426734)

There was a case recently where a girl with a transplanted heart couldn't stay on the anti-rejection drugs, and they were able to remove the transplanted heart and restart her original heart, which had recovered while she wasn't using it. A Google search for "organ removed" finds a bunch of stories about it.

Re:Heard of this before.... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426745)

The doctor who performed the original transplant came out of retirement to perform the extraction. There are still some great men of science out there.

Truly, you are a master geek... (5, Funny)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426774)

"their OEM heart"

Wow. I've never actually heard organs referred to as OEM.

Imagine an organ transplant...

"Well, sir, we can pop in this OEM model here, but it's pretty pricey. We do, however, have this third-party Korean heart that we could slap on in there, but it would violate your warranty and, lemme tell ya', those boys in inspections on the other side are unforgiving of that sort of thing. Of course, we could just throw a refurb in there, but those can be hard to come by..."

All in good humor of course, thanks for your informative post

Re:Truly, you are a master geek... (1)

deficite (977718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426831)

Let's just hope these hearts don't start getting DRM'd!

Re:Truly, you are a master geek... (4, Funny)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426947)

Wow. I've never actually heard organs referred to as OEM.

I don't think I could ever own a heart that came in a white box.

Re:Truly, you are a master geek... (1)

Pesh Hawksfire (928893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427310)

I don't think I could ever own a heart that came in a white box.

Why is it always about race with you, grammar fascist?

Re:Heard of this before.... (1)

Memnos (937795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427379)

You're right, LVAD's are not new. However they suffer from the same shortcomings that all other cardiac assistance and replacement devices do -- they crush blood cells and eventually cause strokes thereby. They are great in the short term, but if you can get the natural organ working more quickly and efficiently, all to the better. BTW, LVADs are often used as only a bridge to a transplant, which does not produce a long-living prognosis. One's own heart, even if it does not function quite as well in terms of rhythm and ejection fraction, is still much friendlier to the rest of your body.

Joop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426654)

Here at the Hanso Foundation, we have been using electromagnetic
frequencies to stimulate the body's own stem cell production. Healing
is greatly enhanced and aging is significantly slowed.

Come check us out at www.hansocareers.com

Hmm.... (0, Flamebait)

Deiouss (679628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426673)

Stem Cells in the heart? Could this open some eyes and increase interest in alternative (Linux, Mac) offerings?

Wow... sounds like a nature documentary (1)

VTMarik (880085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426688)

Now watch as the stem cells migrate through the circulatory system toward the heart. Many will not make this journey, but the ones that do will survive to become new and improved heart cells. Nature is beautiful, isn't it?

Re:Wow... sounds like a nature documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426707)

I believe there was a recent episode of NOVA where stem cells from a patient's bone marrow were injected directly into a patient's heart for exactly this purpose. The treatment appeared to be quite successful.

This would be really helpful for someone I know. (4, Interesting)

thealsir (927362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426698)

He was born without an aorta, and has had 20+ surgeries, each time replacing the tubes connecting his heart to the rest of his body with longer ones. If a compatible aorta could be grown just with stem cells, he would have no further need for surgery.

Right now, he is set for a few more years before they have to cut him open again and make adjustments. I hope by then they can just replace the tubes with living tissue and also replace the unsightly scar tissue that has developed from being cut open so many times.

Let's pray to $DEITY that this gets off the ground. I'm pretty sure it will, mindless theologans aside.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (3, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426795)

Mindless slashdot posters aside too. This involves cardiac stem cells, not embryonic. That means no embryos are destroyed to harvest them, which means no theologans (or even any theologians) are going to be complaining about it. The debate is about embryonic stem cells, not stem cells. Note the emphasis on embryonic. In the future, please keep your flamebait on topic.

Also, this development would not help your friend. These are cardiac stem cells, so they can only develop into cardiac tissue. The aorta is a blood vessel, and is composed of material very different to the heart. It wouldn't help with the visible scar tissue for the same reason.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426842)

You assume theologans know and understand the difference. Some do, but a hell of a lot don't. They just hear the word stem cells, remember that their preacher said they were bad, and immediately go off. Its really an amazing brain washing system they have.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426875)

Strange, I would have said nearly the same thing about the original poster.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1, Insightful)

thealsir (927362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427023)

I say this because I know that there have been efforts to block research on ALL stem cells from ideological grounds, and not just embryonic stem cells. It is the reason why the US lead in stem cell research is shrinking.

And the cardiac stem cells could be used for other purposes as well eventually. It's funny how your argument contradicts itself, because if it were true, then embryonic stem cells would HAVE to be used for the aorta, making your rebuttal to my argument invalid anyway!

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427141)

Embryonic stem cells would most likely not be useful for regrowing an aorta; at least, if they were, your friend would constantly have to be taking anti-rejection drugs, as they wouldn't be his stem cells used. Embryonic stem cells are mainly being used (AFAIK) to research techniques. It's easier to use embryonic than adult in research. But once the techniques are refined, they'll actually use adult stem cells from the patient, as that would not result in rejection by the body.

Even if embryonic stem cells could be used for your friends aorta, your comment in the previous post would still be wrong - the stem cells mentioned in the article will have absolutely no effect on your friend.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15427258)

After I got done modding you down, I decided to tell you why.

You are completely full of shit. Go out and find me a single even vaguely credible group that has any sway with US lawmakers that is against all stem cell research and not just embryonic stem cell research.

There have been absolutely no efforts by any even quasi-mainstream groups (religious or otherwise) to stop stem cell research. There might be some crazy groups out there against stem cell research, but I would bet money that they are a crazy group that is already against using all medicine.

"the reason why the US lead in stem cell research is shrinking" is not because of any efforts to block stem cell research on any ideological grounds. If the US is slacking in stem cell research it is because they are behind in embryonic stem cell research due to a lack of federal (not state, many states still give money) government funding or due to a general lack of funding in R&D. No one has come out against non-embryonic stem cell research with any sort of creditability or clout, religious or otherwise.

This sort of dumb drivel that you just spewed just muddies the waters of real and worthy debate. Any conservative with even half a brain cell who reads your post is going to quickly dismiss you as a fucking idiot (and rightfully so) because you are so completely off with your facts that it is scary. It confirms in their head that liberals are fucking retards who don't understand even the basics of a conservative argument.

Do me a favor and go fucking educate yourself before opening your mouth and making everyone on the same side as be associated with your fucking idiotic self.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426898)

I don't know a great deal about genetics, but if the aorta is missing because of a genetic mishap, then wouldn't placing stem cells in place just 'not' make another aorta because that genetic thingy is damaged which builds it?

Now I'm confused.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (2, Interesting)

thealsir (927362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427030)

That would be true if it were initial growth, or if you wanted to summon the body to grow an aorta on its own. But an aorta could be made from generic stem-cell-cultured tissue, and it would be accepted by the body's other cells.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (1)

Memnos (937795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427405)

However, there is promising research [cornell.edu] that shows that myovascular cell structures can be grown from pluri- or omni-potent stem cells, particularly from bone marrow. Also, advances are being made in developing more and more complex organ systems using "bio-scaffolding" -- in effect put myovascular stem cells in an aorta shaped matrix an grow them in vitro, then "install". Never say Never.

Re:This would be really helpful for someone I know (2, Informative)

Memnos (937795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427450)

Also refer to the NIH Hematopoietic Stem Cells [nih.gov] . There's tons of research going on, so tell your friend to hang on...

Limited to heart tissue? (1, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426701)

these cardiac stem cells could one day be manipulated to rebuild tissues damaged by heart disease
Is there some reason these stem cells could only be used to rebuild heart tissue? Why not any other tissue? If there are stem cells scattered throughout the body, what is the motivation for getting them from human embryos?

Re:Limited to heart tissue? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426746)

The motivation for getting them from human embryos is that the stem cells in embryos have almost limitless potential, whereas the ones in a fully grown body merely can help the area they originate from.

It also means that you can't retrieve, say, brain stem cells without killing the person first.

Embryonic stem cells don't have the limits that adult stem cells do, and they are much easier to obtain.

Would you rather be cut open to get stem cell treatment or merely take some medecine?

Re:Limited to heart tissue? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426791)

the stem cells in embryos have almost limitless potential, whereas the ones in a fully grown body merely can help the area they originate from.
That's what I'm asking. Isn't a stem cell, by definition, an undifferentiated cell that can become anything? How are the heart stem cells impaired?

Re:Limited to heart tissue? (2, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426970)

As far as I understand it, embryonic stem cells are totally undifferentiated cells. Adult stem cells are generally somewhat differentiated. Thus you get the stem cells in this article, which are cardiac stem cells. They don't have the potential of embryonic stem cells to grow into anything, but they can still be used to help regrow damaged cardiac cells.

Of course, when it comes to actual therapy, techniques will have to be developed that rely on adult stem cells. The whole point of stem cell therapy is that you use your own stem cells to regrow tissue that won't be rejected by your body. If you use embryonic stem cells to regrow stuff, because the stuff regrown is still a foreign body, you'd still be stuck with all the anti-rejection medication current transplant recipients need.

The primary use of embryonic stem cells is not therepeutic, it's research oriented. Because embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated, it's easier to use them to do research. The idea is that the techniques developed using easy to obtain embryonic stem cells can then be translated into using adult stem cells, which is where the therapies are going to come from.

I'm not a microbiologist, but that's what I've picked up from the debate.

Heart Removal... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426704)

Oh so that crazy witch-doctor guy in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" wasn't just performing some satanic ritual...he was harvesting stemcells for the benefeit of medical science...how nice of him.

Re:Heart Removal... (2, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426846)

Kali is a Hindu goddess, so he wasn't conducting a satanic ritual at all.

Re:Heart Removal... (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426979)

Nice point, but to a Christian, Kali IS Satan, or might as well be. They're not very open-minded about those sorts of things.

Re:Heart Removal... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427043)

I'm not sure why people groop all christians inot the same catagory of thought. There are only around 200 or more indevidual sects of christian that disagree with each other sect on at least one point.

Besides, religions gods aren't Satan by default. they may be profits or other whatever and it would be the actions of reguarding them as a god thats against the religion. For some reason, if you whoreship a cow or a pig, it is still a cow or a pig. I don't see any difference with Kali. It would just be a false god and not neccesarily Satan.

not just him (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427247)

Same with that girl who dumped you in eighth grade.

What is a stem cell? (0, Troll)

SurturZ (54334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426706)

I am not a medical researcher, but my understanding is that a stem cell is a primitive type of cell that can grow into another type of cell. The fuss about stem cell research is that human foetuses have a large supply of stem cells, because they have not finished growing yet. So harvesting aborted foetuses would be one way to provide stem cells for research. This is controversial for obvious reasons.

Embryonic stem cells without a fetus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426780)

From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/03/24/AR2006032401721.html [washingtonpost.com]

Scientists in Germany said yesterday that they had retrieved easily obtained cells from the testes of male mice and transformed them into what appear to be embryonic stem cells, the versatile and medically promising biological building blocks that can morph into all kinds of living tissues.

If similar starter cells exist in the testes of men, as several scientists yesterday said they now believe is likely, then it may not be difficult for scientists to cultivate them in laboratory dishes, grow them into new tissues and transplant those tissues into the ailing organs of men who donated the cells. The technique would have vast advantages over the current approach to growing "personalized" replacement parts -- an approach that has stirred intense political controversy because it requires the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos as stem cell sources. The new work suggests that every male may already have everything he needs to regenerate new tissues -- at least with a little help from his local cell biologist.

[...]
[...]
[...]
They showed that under carefully controlled conditions, those cells can become "multipotent adult germline stem cells" that share all the characteristics of embryonic stem cells.

[...]
[...]
[...]
German scientists have great incentive to find alternatives to human embryonic stem cells, because government restrictions on human embryo cell research in Germany are even more severe than they are in the United States, where federally funded scientists are banned from working on embryonic stem cell colonies created after August 2001.

Migrating (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426712)

However, they still did not know whether these stem cells actually resided in the heart or had merely migrated there from another tissue, such as bone marrow.

Well, bone marrow is reponsible for the production of blood cells, so having stem cells migrate into the blood stream and end up in the organ every ounce of one's blood eventually passes through makes sense to me.

Imagine that, (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426733)

A medical college in Valhalla, I thought they just made plans for Ragnarök and had feasts while getting drunk there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla [wikipedia.org] ;)

Good news for lovers (4, Funny)

bakayoko (570822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426738)

I just shared the news with my roommates, who are going through an awfully difficult break-up.

They've been so upset for so long, and today when I told them about how their hearts can regenerate, I think I saw hope in their eyes for the first time...

What about... (4, Insightful)

slocan (769303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426751)

preventing heart atacks.

Curing heart diseases is undoutedly important and necessary, but understanding why and how we have heart diseases could lead to less such diseases in the first place.

The problem - and not only with heart related diseases - is that there are quite a lot of life-style related causes, isn't it so?

And changing behaviours (what you eat, how you exercise, how you relate to your fellow human beings etc) is presently more "difficult" (for cultural reasons) than discovering cell manipulation techniques, that is, than intervening (than making a "patch").

That is the tradition bestowed upon us at least since Francis Bacon: the world, including nature and the human body, are objects which we can manage, alter, change to suit our "needs", to extract profit etc, because we can.

Instead of adopting a humbler attitude towards life, the universe and everything, trying to live seamlessly with our environment and with each others, we learned to alter the world so that it would adapat to our whims. The eventual errors, mistakes and disasters that follow such courses of action are tackled with further and deeper interventions.

Is it possible to change centuries of an intervention tradition, to try to understand and adapt to the environment and others, instead of adapting others and the environment to us?

Am I making any sense?

preventing heart atacks (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426760)

preventing heart atacks... changing behaviours

But that is a lot of work!

The easiest way to prevent heart attacks is to pick parents that aren't prone to that issue. Otherwise, if you need your heart fixed, yeah, I'd say patch it up.

Re:preventing heart atacks (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426956)

The easiest way to prevent heart attacks is to pick parents that aren't prone to that issue.

As a teenager, I'd love to have picked my parents.

Bacon... (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426776)

Yum! You said Bacon...

*Drools*

Re:What about... (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426777)

> Instead of adopting a humbler attitude towards life, the universe and
> everything, trying to live seamlessly with our environment and with each
> others, we learned to alter the world so that it would adapat to our whim.

That's right. Let's all just live in grass huts and eat wild fruit.

Re:What about... (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427225)

Just remember there is a vocal subset of the most millitant vegans and animal rights campaigners that will not be happy until man is extinct and the earth is exactly the way it was before monkeys started throwing stones.

Re:What about... (1, Informative)

slocan (769303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426803)

What about... * Quitting smoking (Yes, for some it can be extremely hard.); * Eating a healthy diet (Diminishing the fast food ingestion is a good start.); * Controlling your blood sugar (If you have diabetes. And if you don't too, beacause you can acquire diabetes.); * Exercising (A stroll in the park once in a while can be a nice start, and some would say quite enough.); * Controlling weight; * Controlling your blood pressure (if have hypertension is an issue). http://familydoctor.org/291.xml#4 [familydoctor.org] * Drinking more water (and less alcohol?).

Re:What about... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426855)

You know what? People should be able to smoke. And drink. And use whatever other drugs they want. And eat crappy food. And not exercise unless they enjoy it. And have sex with as many partners as they please. And do all the other currently life-shortening things they enjoy, and not have it be a death sentence. Keeping people alive after a lifetime of doing the things that make them happy is one of the noblest goals of science.

No, I'm not kidding.

Re:What about... (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426937)

Lol, Daniel. I agree with you 100%. Of course we could all live longer if lived like strict Mormons, but there's more to life than prolonging it. I say live as fully as you can, and there's nothing wrong with turning to medical science when you have a problem.

Re:What about... (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427206)

It sounds great on paper, but think about it. If you could drink without any healthy worried at all then becoming addicted to the stuff is so much easier. You may not kill yourself through drink, but you may well die in a car crash or wreck your life by waking up and needing a bottle of vodka.

People forget life has natural "warning" signs in things. When science side steps these warnings/problems, new ones arise which are more "DONT FUCK WITH ME!" rather than "hey, you can't even stand, you shouldn't of gone THIS far".

Re:What about... (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427255)

"Keeping people alive _after_ a lifetime of doing the things that make them happy is one of the noblest goals of science."
(emphasis mine).

Whoa there... I think people would rather not be kept alive for too long after their lifetime of doing the happy stuff...

Seriously though: a big problem is who pays for it.

Seems like we're heading to a future where repairing people will be increasingly be limited by money (resouces) than by medical technology. Not sure when we'd ever be able to afford to pay to repair everybody.

BTW in many countries smokers pay for more than their share in tobacco taxes, duties etc - so they're not a burden to everyone else. Smoking is addictive, so one can extract quite a lot of taxes from smokers.

Even more seriously though. I think "happiness" shouldn't be the top goal by itself. Otherwise scientists could more easily and cheaply wire people up and _make_ them artificially happy and keep them going till they are beyond repair - then they'd be still happy till their last living second.

Somehow that sort of artificial happiness doesn't seem that good to me (my biased subjective opinion).

In contrast there are people who go through unhappy circumstances, persecution etc, but are filled with joy - they know they are doing the right thing and are doing something good for others.

So, a lifetime of just doing things that make yourself happy seems rather empty in comparison.

Thus a recursive: changing yourself to be happy to make others happy (and helping them be happy making others happy and similarly helping those others ) seems more interesting and fruitful.

In our current universe there will always be sad times. There is a reason for hunger and pain.

Maybe there was a species that was born permanently happy but it died out a long time ago :).

Re:What about... (4, Interesting)

chudnall (514856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426955)

For some, heart disease is a lifestyle issue. Then there's people like me. Every single male person (that I know) on my father's side of the family has had heart attacks and subsequent bypass, many at a relatively early age. My dad had his emergency quintuple bypass at 43. His veins were already in such bad shape, that they had to cut all the way down both legs to harvest enough suitable segments. He was not overweight and exercised regularly. Needless to say, I try to practice a very heart-healthy lifestyle. I don't really have much reason to believe it will do a lot of good, though.If I follow my family history, I'll have my first heart attack in about 10 years, Get bypass surgery, be in the hospital about every 10 years after that, and finally die (if I'm lucky) of a massive stroke. Lifestyle changes haven't helped anyone in my family. So I welcome any new scientific advances in this area.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426999)

Consider getting the bypasses before having the heart attack. My father chose that unusual route about 20 years ago and is still going strong at 82. Good luck.

touche (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426967)

You do have an extremely valid point. Many will probably poo-poo your thoughts, however (which is sad).

We live in a society in which we really don't respect what fragile gifts our bodies are. The mantra seems to be "you could be hit by a bus tomorrow so live it up!!". While it is true that at any time your body can cease to function for a myriad of reasons, chances are you are going to live to see 60. What then? Living an entire life smoking, eating like a slob, and sitting on the couch will have taken a toll. You are going to put all your eggs in the medical science basket? Assume they can cut you open and make you all better? I've seen those who live their whole life abusing their bodies. It isn't pretty. You may be still biologically functioning, but that sure isn't living.

The attitude in society should regard medical advances as a gift. A suppliment to a life of good eating and good living. As a way to give your body another 10 years which it might otherwise not have had. Sadly, it is viewed as an expectation.

Re:What about... (1)

supertsaar (540181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427284)

And changing behaviours (what you eat, how you exercise, how you relate to your fellow human beings etc) is presently more "difficult" (for cultural reasons) than discovering cell manipulation techniques, that is, than intervening (than making a "patch").
Hmm, another important factor would be that farmaceutical companies can't make any money off of 'changing behaviours' whereas by selling pills they make a killing....

You have a stem of cells in your heart. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426768)

You have been impaled by a pointy stick.

brb fbi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426808)

"NewScientist reports that researchers have discovered stem cells in the heart, leading them to believe that the heart can regenerate itself."

O YA THEN WHY DONT WE HAVE ROBOT HEARTS YET?? THIS IS TRUE LUNACY.

"From the article: "The finding raises the possibility that these cardiac stem cells could one day be manipulated to rebuild tissues damaged by heart disease - still the leading cause of death in the US and UK."

More like 12541221423% increase for brain cancer in small children.

"Because fully developed heart cells do not divide, experts have believed the organ was unable to regenerate after injury."

OH I THOUGHT THIS ARTICLE WAS ABOUT HOW IT COULD MAYBE YUO SHOULD PICK A SIDE.

"But, in 2003, researchers at Piero Anversa's laboratory at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, US, discovered stem cells in the hearts of mice, and subsequently humans."

VIKINGS DON'T NEED MEDICAL COLLEGES.

    "However, they still did not know whether these stem cells actually resided in the heart or had merely migrated there from another tissue, such as bone marrow."

WELL THAN WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE???

Great news (5, Funny)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426813)

I've always believed that eating the heart of a fallen enemy would give me his courage. Getting his stem cells to boot is a totally unexpected bonus.

Take that, GWB (1, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426880)

Those damned stem cells have infiltrated you from within.

Stress is the leading cause of (1)

lowell (66406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426931)

heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Dr Who Can Regenerate (Now We Can Regenerate too! (2, Funny)

wolverine1999 (126497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426943)

So now it will be relatively easy to imitate Dr Who's regeneration ability. Remember the Doctor has two hearts, too, so we could grow an extra heart also. Hmmm...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lJUdZqoOdU [youtube.com]

aww (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15426989)

fuck, there goes the dead fetus market.

Re:aww (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15427234)

(in a Transylvanian accent)

Not vile I'm hungry!

Cheer up about ya heart, laddie. It'll grow back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15426993)

It took them that long to make the announcement? Valhalla has known about organ regeneration for nigh on 1500 years now!

Niche (2, Funny)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427297)

"Stem Cells of the Heart"

A chick flick aimed at cardiologists.

broken heart (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427428)

Don't know about regeneration, but usually there is heavy scarring.

But we're doing that in Thailand already (2, Informative)

asiansweetheart (977645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427515)

But we've been doing adult stem cell therapy to treat previously untreatable heart desease in Thailand for a couple of years already. It isn't approved yet in the U.S. so people come here to do it, including some famous people (sort of), like Don Ho (story http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/23/D8ELPR3G8 .html [breitbart.com] )

heart disease - leading cause of death in US/UK (1)

ChrisZermatt (892665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15427545)

Actually, heart disease is just the effect.

The *cause* of heart disease in the UK & US is actually fudge brownies!

(nobody seems to care much about getting the f**king fat masses off of their fat asses -- the only real cure to the problem).
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