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Grow Your Own Heart Valves

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the congen-circulatory-sphincters dept.

Biotech 180

jcr writes "Medical researchers in Britain have succeeded in growing a heart valve from adult stem cells taken from bone marrow. The research is being reported in the journal of the Royal Society today. Growing a heart value from your own cells means that tissue rejection isn't an issue."

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php (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20463887)

phirst post

Re:php (0, Troll)

buswolley (591500) | about 7 years ago | (#20464447)

Told you we shouldn't kill babies. It was a short-sighted 'solution.'

Re:php (4, Insightful)

Retric (704075) | about 7 years ago | (#20464795)

So, ignoring the fact that a strong push into embryonic stem cell research would have resulted in zero additional baby deaths you assuming we would be in the same place today? Ethics aside we are probably in a worse place today than we would be without embryonic stem cell research. Over time millions of people may die because we are just a little behind where we could be. However, we will never know what could have been...

Thanks.

PS: The point of research is to find out how to do things. It was unlikely we would ever use embrionic stem cells as "standard" treatment but we could have learned a lot about how cells work much sooner.

Re:php (0, Offtopic)

dbrutus (71639) | about 7 years ago | (#20465951)

All the productive therapies are coming out of the adult side, not the embryonic side. Had we concentrated our funds on adult stem cell research, we might be even further ahead. Instead we got a lot of inaccurate tear-jerking testimony that emotionally manipulated the process and lots of funding ended up supporting what has largely been a "dry hole" of scientific exploration.

Over time, millions may die because we funded embryonic stem cell research to the level we are doing so today instead of concentrating on the more productive adult cell approaches. Millions of lives hang in the balance on a lot of speculative decisions and they can be lost no matter how you choose. We do our best and cut our losses as much as we can if we're ethical.

Re:php (1)

apparently (756613) | about 7 years ago | (#20465143)

Oh, do fuck off. This has nothing to do with adult stem cells being just as good as fetal stem cells, but how am I supposed to argue against someone whose head is so far up their ass that they think babies are "killed" for stem cells? Seriously, you're fucking useless and should've been aborted while your parents had the chance.

and coming soon... (1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | about 7 years ago | (#20463911)

... grow your own penis extension.

I cant WAIT for the spam on this one.

Whole heart next? (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about 7 years ago | (#20463915)

So how far does this leave us from growing a whole heart? Or other organs?

At some point, transplants from donors will be for emergencies only, and the shortages and wait lists will be a thing of the past.

Re:Whole heart next? (2, Insightful)

devC (1143613) | about 7 years ago | (#20463957)

It is amazing that they did this with adult stem cells and not embryonic stem cells. I wonder why the big push for embryonic stem cells?

Re:Whole heart next? (4, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20464013)

embryonic are omni-potential, instead of just pluripotential.

Until the last two or three years (if I remember correctly, the time frame may be off), with adult stem cells, they can grow a limited set of tissues only. Even now it takes work to make adult stem cells able to differentiate into any other cells. Embryonic stemm cells however can change into anything, without any modification. They are much easier to work with, and as of a couple of years ago they were the only option.

I can't remember if they can now make adult stem cells omni-potential, or just increase their potential to add just a few more cell types.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

devC (1143613) | about 7 years ago | (#20464183)

That clears it up some. Thanks. This is a very big topic obviously, and it seems there is a lot of misunderstanding.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

dbrutus (71639) | about 7 years ago | (#20466033)

The problem is that omni-potential cells might not be a good thing. Embryonic stem cell treatments seem to have a lot of extra problems with tumor formation which is one of the reasons why we don't have any such treatments approved by medical bodies. Cancer is radical change in cell function. Change is not always good.

Re:Whole heart next? (3, Interesting)

Dausha (546002) | about 7 years ago | (#20464225)

"Embryonic stemm (sic) cells however can change into anything, without any modification. They are much easier to work with, and as of a couple of years ago they were the only option."

However, left to his own devices in his native environment, a human embryo will develop into an autonomous human. You are taking a life and converting it into property without giving that life a chance to decide.How does harvesting an embryo not equate to slavery? We Americans fought a war over this 150 years ago, and I find it amazing that, by changing the perception of "when life begins," some Americans think it's okay. I would have less problem with embryonic stem cells _if_ the embryo were not destroyed.

The promise of adult stem cells has yet to be fully explored, and I'm glad research is bearing fruit and receiving media attention. As you say, embryonic cells are potentially easier to deal with. Managing slaves is easier than working with a union; but which is more moral?

Re:Whole heart next? (1, Insightful)

locokamil (850008) | about 7 years ago | (#20464329)

Why the devil has parent been modded flamebait? Just because he doesn't agree with the groupthink doesn't mean that it's a null/void opinion!

Re:Whole heart next? (0, Troll)

Erasmus (32516) | about 7 years ago | (#20464465)

How the devil does equating using a single cell to clone an organ to slavery NOT count as trolling?

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

LEgregius (550408) | about 7 years ago | (#20464981)

It's flamebait because it's written in an angry tone and is "baiting" people to start a flame war. The same post could have been rewritten with a different tone and not been flamebait. A tone like that won't win many people over.

I'm not sure I can see calling it slavery. Cannibalism would be more appropriate, and just as flamebaiting. Even then, I think it would matter the source of the stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have been created without using an embryo. I those cases, a human life was never really stopped, except if that cell was going to be using in cloning. Only if the stems cells came from an abortion could you say it's killing one human for the benefit of another.

Another point I'd like to make is that I don't see how stem cells made from abortions are really of any use except in research. It seems that stem cells would need to match the recipient genetically to be of maximum use. That means taking an adult human's cells and making stem cells, or creating a clone.

Re:Whole heart next? (2, Informative)

Dausha (546002) | about 7 years ago | (#20465277)

"It's flamebait because it's written in an angry tone and is 'baiting' people to start a flame war."

It wasn't meant in an angry tone. This is exactly a question, raised 1.5 years ago in my law school Health Law class, somebody else posed to a PhD Bio-ethicist. He avoided answering the question, and I thought somebody here could pose an answer. Whenever somebody's right of autonomy is stripped and the person reduced to property status, we call it slavery. (Voluntary renunciation of autonomy would be indentured servitude.) Arguably, the embryo is a person (or would be left to his one devices). Destroying the embryo to create stem cells is not voluntary, and it reduces the embryo to mere property. Thus, how is it not slavery?

The great question is "when does life begin?" The bio-ethicist argued after 21 days, and he based his argument on our decision point for when somebody is dead (e.g. brain activity, not "mostly dead/all dead"). My question to him was "what happens if we harvested all embryos before day 21?" (An obvious ad absurdium argument, but it underscores the distinction between establishing "life at 21" verse "death at no-brain function.) He ended up conceding that the 21 days was arbitrary.

As for baiting someone into a flamewar: by that definition, half of /. is flamebait. I merely asserted my view that harvesting embryos for stem cells is morally wrong and could be compared to slavery. If whomever modded me down for flamebait agreed with my view and thought it was too heated; then I would be more willing to agree with the assessment. However, as is normally the case, mods are used to censor opposing opinions. As this is normal, I have to assume that was the motive here. I assumed I would be down-modded because somebody wouldn't like my POV; but that doesn't mean I shouldn't express my view.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Gravatron (716477) | about 7 years ago | (#20465837)

Given the only alternative for those embryos is a quick trip to the incenerator, i'd say they are at least dying a noble death. Though that sacrifise, they live on in the tissue of the potentialy millions who they help. Given a choice between anonymous destruction and anonymously helping others, I know which one i'd pick.

So I think the major ethical questions would be which of these doomed embryos do we select for research, how do we keep people from creating them just for profit, and donar privacy issues. Since furtility clinics produce thousands a year which are otherwise incenerated, we certainly don't have to purposley abort to get them.

Re:Whole heart next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464511)

first, that war was about economics - slavery was just a face one side used to make themselves look good.

two, I wasn't saying it was good or bad, I was just saying that at the time, it was the only way to get things done.

Three, if the child was going to die anyway (ie abortion, or the embry developed in a petri dish), there are mindsets that say such a thing shouldn't go to waste (former), or it never would have attained conciousness anyway (latter) - left on its own in the open air, I gurantee it wouldn't become a fully functional human.

Finally the embryos have to be obtained before it can be determined which cells will actually develop into a brian, let alone a brain actually forming - at this state not only can it not think, but it never would if it were left to it's own devices anyway.
 

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Runefox (905204) | about 7 years ago | (#20464953)

See, not that I disagree, but there's a very big flaw in that argument in that there isn't a clear line drawn - Same with the abortion debate.

So taking an embryo and using it for science is wrong, it's murder, etc, etc. Yes, I agree to some extent. What about all the potential humans flushed down the toilet by those dreadful female teens during their period? Shouldn't they be forced to mate at every opportunity to enable the ovum of the month the chance to become a human being? After all, women typically ovulate 400 to 450 times in their lifespan [wikipedia.org] (if Wikipedia can be believed; Likely so in this case). How is an ovum any different than an embryo, save for its state of fertilization? It still has the potential for human life, just as the embryo does, and isn't that what should be protected? What of lesbians? For that matter, should it be an offense for a man to flush millions of potential keys to human life down the toilet on a Kleenex? To waste them on another man? To have them accomplish nothing but serve as a flush for the reproductive system via a wet dream?

These questions represent the path this sort of argument is taking, and how far it can go. I'm sure there are people out there that actually believe this, too (and I'm sure Slashdot users would like Mandatory Mating Hour).

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Saganaga (167162) | about 7 years ago | (#20465157)

Actually this is pretty simple...simple enough for a 4-year old to understand. Sperm and eggs, separately, are not human beings. When they join together, they form into a human being. If you remember your high school biology, the sperm and egg each only have half the DNA needed to form a human. Once the egg is fertilized, only then do you have a human.

This is true for any organism that reproduces sexually, by the way.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#20465319)

So, for example, if I go in with my wife, and they harvest my sperm and her eggs, and fertilize 10 or so eggs (common practice) and we end up only needing one fertilized egg to be implanted and the other 9 stay on a freezer shelf for a few years before they are routinely discarded, does that make the person who discarded them a mass murderer?

By your example, yes. It is often these embryo's which are almost always destroyed, that could be used for stem cell research...It's not all about abortion. Not even close.

There is a lot more to it than simply (sperm + egg) = person. I'd think even a 4 year old would understand that.

Re:Whole heart next? (0, Troll)

Saganaga (167162) | about 7 years ago | (#20465515)

No, you're making it more complicated than you need to: a human life, personhood if you will, begins at conception. And yes, if you discard nine embryos, you are murdering them. Perhaps that makes you upset, or maybe you don't care. You have to decide for yourself what you believe.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Gravatron (716477) | about 7 years ago | (#20466049)

So what do we do with those nine then? Keep them frozen forever? The odds of them ever getting used is pretty minute. No idea how long they can stay vaible frozen ether.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

dbrutus (71639) | about 7 years ago | (#20466103)

If somebody would like to adopt those 9 embryos, implant them, and bring them to term, what is the problem with that? Look up snowflake babies and you'll see that there is pro-choice resistence to the practice.

There is nothing inevitable about discarding embryos.

Re:Whole heart next? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465335)

Actually this is pretty simple...simple enough for a 4-year old to understand ... Once the egg is fertilized, only then do you have a human.

Why, because you said so? What criteria are you using for what makes a human being a human being? For that matter, given that there is no widespread consensus on the issue of what "life" is, exactly, in any of the major fields of interest - biology, religion, psychology, philosophy - which is why it's an issue to begin with, upon what authority do you draw from to make such a final statement of "fact" meaningful? Are you an expert in some relevant field? Have you research to back any of this up, or a cohesive philosophical argument that doesn't have any major holes in it like all others before it?

I doubt all that, really. It's easy to see a "simple" solution when you can't even process the complexity of the actual problem. When you can prove to me what makes "life" alive, I'll reconsider your argument in full, but first I want to see that you even remotely grasp the sheer scope of the problem underlying this topic.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Runefox (905204) | about 7 years ago | (#20465385)

I understand that, but just because it requires intervention doesn't mean that action shouldn't be taken to ensure that these two ingredients to humanity, while they exist, shouldn't be put to the highest possible potential to form as many new humans as possible, to give them the chance at life that the argument always talks about. Where a woman who is perpetually pregnant and having children could bring life to a great number of new humans, a woman who is abstinent will deny that potential for life to those human beings.

The philosophy is thus: A female has the potential to give life to human beings with the help of either artificial fertilization or sexual intercourse with a man. This potential could either bring life to many, or bring none. The point is, an embryo is just "potential", too, since it isn't quite a human being. It could either grow into a healthy person, or die before childbirth. The only difference is that the fertilization has already been made. What you have to look at is, every time a woman has a period, that's a potential human being sent to the sewers. Every time a man masturbates, that's a potential human being's lifeblood being soaked into his favourite shirt. If people truly believed the argument that potential life should be preserved, then they should truly believe what I'm saying here. Anything else is just parroting someone else's (flawed) viewpoint.

Of course, not even I do, though I argue it. It forces you to think about the bigger picture; Of course, if such a policy were ever instated, the world would be quickly overpopulated.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

Saganaga (167162) | about 7 years ago | (#20465577)

You call both a sperm/egg and a fertilized egg "potential" human life, but by doing so you are displaying your bias against the status of a fertilized egg as a full member of the human family. In my opinion, once an egg is fertilized, something fundamental has changed and a new person has been formed.

If you don't believe that full personhood begins at conception, then when do you believe it begins? If your answer is "I don't know", then shouldn't you err on the side of caution and support the protection of embryos from exploitation or other harm?

Re:Whole heart next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465217)

Well, since the cell is made of chemicals, why don't you regress your thinking one step? This carbon atom could become part of an autonomous human being (I guess this means it's OK to kill humans that can't be autonomous) so don't put carbon atoms into slavery!

Re:Whole heart next? (3, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20465275)

However, left to his own devices in his native environment, a human embryo will develop into an autonomous human.

No, there could be a miscarrage.

You are taking a life and converting it into property without giving that life a chance to decide.

We do the same thing to other living things all the time. We kill catapillers before they become butterflys.

How does harvesting an embryo not equate to slavery?

Because its a mass of cells, and not a human being? There's no brain, arms, legs, heart, anything. It cannot survive on its own either.

We Americans fought a war over this 150 years ago, and I find it amazing that, by changing the perception of "when life begins," some Americans think it's okay. I would have less problem with embryonic stem cells _if_ the embryo were not destroyed.

More than that; these embros live inside another human being, which has rights too. Unlike an embryo, that person can reason and decide what they want to do (or not do) with their own body, including whether or not another living being may survive in it.

I'm also suprised how many Americans think they can involve themselves into the personal affairs of others. Does it really affect YOU specifically in any way? I don't see how it could.

The promise of adult stem cells has yet to be fully explored, and I'm glad research is bearing fruit and receiving media attention. As you say, embryonic cells are potentially easier to deal with. Managing slaves is easier than working with a union; but which is more moral?

Don't equate a few human cells with slavery. You just look foolish.

Re:Whole heart next? (1)

PresidentEnder (849024) | about 7 years ago | (#20464237)

What's to stop harvesting stem cells from a fetus which is then returned to the womb and carried to term? Nobody could get upset about benefiting from the use of one's own stem cells.

Idea worth thinking about (1)

JSchoeck (969798) | about 7 years ago | (#20464355)

Wow, interessting concept, but very problematic non the less. If the fetus doesn't survive it would be a hard judgment case.

Re:Whole heart next? (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about 7 years ago | (#20464387)

If you want to save your child's stem cells for their own use later, don't you preserve the umbilical cord?

Yup:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbilical_cord [wikipedia.org] (warning: some not-so-pretty pictures)

Check out the section on cord blood.

Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (1)

Miykayl (841085) | about 7 years ago | (#20464427)

There are people doing embryonic stem-cell research, they simply are not government/public funded here in the U.S.

From what I can see, however, the folks doing research with the adult-stem-cells are outpacing embryonic research by leaps and bounds.

This sounds like a bona-fide adult-stem-cell success.

From what a vaguely remember, the embryonic-stem-cell experiments have either failed outright, or ultimately failed after initial success. We've heard lots of promises, but adult-stem-cells are delivering, where embryonic-stem-cells do not seem to be.

If I'm ignorant, it's honest ignorance.

Let's see some links to comparable embryonic-stem-cell successes...

I think peer-reviewed periodicals are our best bet for the straight-story, but even those articles may have biases. And, it's probably heresy in the medical field to oppose embryonic-stem-cell-research... which is an important clue.

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20464587)

A lot more money is being thrown at adult stem cell research - it's really not comparible which is more useful from the start.

You put $10B into research on ethanol from corn, vs $100K into research for ethanol from cane... Which one will show up better? Which one is actually better?

The scales were weighted and the measurement isn't good.

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464731)

Actually the money being thrown at either one is not that drastically different. Just because it is illegal in the US doesn't mean a 'gasp' multi-national company can simply set up a lab in another country.

So it comes down to which one pans out more in the end, and we haven't had much success with embryonic stem cells ..... yet. So grandfather poster does have a point. But I think the true verdict will not come for a few years...

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465067)

its not illegal, just not government funded.

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465041)

This is a very hotly-debated and highly emotional, ethically-sticky, etc, etc issue. You can be sure that the best and the brightest of those who are against embryonic stem cell research will be putting in 150% effort to make other stem cells do what embryonic stem cells can, and even surpass them.

Yes, the embryonic stem cell research crowd will have a lot of bright people, perhaps even brighter than the other group, but there is nothing for them to prove. They're already starting out ahead. At the moment, the general belief (fact?) is that embryonic stem cells are more effective, easier to work with, etc. (Do rejections still occur with embryonic stem cell-developed tissues?)

They also might not have the general drive and motivation to make the embryonic research surpass the non-embryonic research out of any moral or ethical issues. I mean, if you don't have any problems working with embryonic stem cells or their origins, you wouldn't have problems with adult stem cells either; you just wouldn't do that because embryonic stem cells appear to hold more promise. Those who are only after the funding are useless to either side of the project fence.

(I don't know which will ultimately prove to be better, which is why I say "appears" and "suppose")

You can get a knucklehead (or group of them) in the $10B project, and a genius (or group of them) in the $100K project, and the smaller project will soar. Combine that with drive and motivation, and you'll have a winning team almost regardless of funding. Especially so if the smaller project is substantially more viable (in this case, common belief is that it's not).

Money isn't everything, but it sure helps.

-M

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 7 years ago | (#20465125)

A good point; the ethical dilemmas of embryonic stem cell research has resulted in a comparative lack of funds.

Another argument would be that embryonic stem cell research is 'higher level' research - more theoretical than practical. The lessons learned there could filter down and help adult stem cell research develop practical treatments.

For one thing, without some extensive modification you'll have problems with immune systems rejecting the cells; just like with transplanted organs unless you make it a habit to collect them for all children. That's a rather massive storage project, and what happens if an accident takes out your tube of stem cells.

Better to use adult stem cells - they can be harvested anytime, and we can provide service to people today using them.

Re:Adult vs. Embryonic stem cells... ? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20465377)

There are people doing embryonic stem-cell research, they simply are not government/public funded here in the U.S.

From what I can see, however, the folks doing research with the adult-stem-cells are outpacing embryonic research by leaps and bounds.


Hmm... read those two statements, and see if you can't figure out how linked they really are.

From what a vaguely remember, the embryonic-stem-cell experiments have either failed outright, or ultimately failed after initial success. We've heard lots of promises, but adult-stem-cells are delivering, where embryonic-stem-cells do not seem to be.

Since loss of federal funding likely shut down much of the research, that's expected. Also, the lines that ARE still in existance are mostly contaminated and are useless.

Let's see some links to comparable embryonic-stem-cell successes...

Since I'm in the US, and we've 1) cut federal funding for research using new lines of embryonic SCs, and 2) the existing lines are contaminated, I won't be able to do so, since a good portion of research is not being done anymore. I wouldn't know where to look for research by other countries.

Re:Whole heart next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464885)

Even now it takes work to make adult stem cells able to differentiate into any other cells. Embryonic stem cells however can change into anything, without any modification. They are much easier to work with, and as of a couple of years ago they were the only option.
You know, I've seen people saying that many times in the past six years.

But if the embryonic stem cells are really so much easier to work with, why hasn't anyone succeeded in making heart valves out of embryonic stem cells? Why has it been easier in practice to use adult bone marrow cells? You can't chalk this up to US federal funding restrictions, because the research in TFA took place in the UK, where they don't have those restrictions.

Re:Whole heart next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464917)

Yes, because NOBODY uses data generated in the USA in their research. In fact, all research is de-novo, not using any prior research from anyone as a basis!

Conservatives need to stop this!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464493)

OMG... a new technology which can benefit humanity. Conservatives, you must stop this at all costs!!

If a conservative is against something, that's an indication of how beneficial it actually is. The better something is, the more conservatives hate it.

I'll be more impressed... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20463917)

when they grow some decent teeth!

Let me the the first... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464073)

to welcome our circulatory robust but dentally challenged ex-colonial overlords...

Re:I'll be more impressed... (1)

Col. Bloodnok (825749) | about 7 years ago | (#20465605)

The problem of NHS dentistry in the UK is a national scandal - and is no joke. In many parts of the UK there is no NHS dentistry provision at all, or waiting lists to join NHS practices that beggar belief.

The NHS, free at the point of delivery, unless it's something to do with your teeth, but Clove Oil is supposed to be good for toothache.

Yeah! (3, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | about 7 years ago | (#20463919)

As the owner of a slightly defective valve, I feel encouraged that when the time comes, I'll have my own supply of spare parts. (Or will be able to use loaners while mine are being grown.) Good work, folks!

Re:Yeah! (1)

DragonFodder (712772) | about 7 years ago | (#20464375)

I have to echo your sentiments with a loud "Hell Yeah!".

As the father of somone with a slightly defective valve. We have been told that at some point in the future this valve will need to be replaced. How wonderful it is that the replacement will no longer need be reduced to the choices of cadaver, pig, or mechanical.

Yeah! Too! (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 7 years ago | (#20464651)

This news is exactly why I've put off getting a replacement: so long as the incomplete valve I have does its job adequately, 'tis better to wait for better technology to develop. Wait long enough, and voila - new identical replacement parts become available.

Re:Yeah! Too! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20465435)

Wait long enough, and voila - new identical replacement parts become available.

Um, if its identical, won't it also be incomplete?

OEM parts (3, Funny)

thejuggler (610249) | about 7 years ago | (#20464769)

I guess this means that we are now using OEM parts instead of third-party knock-offs.

Re:OEM parts (1)

Gravatron (716477) | about 7 years ago | (#20466001)

There is a newegg joke in there somewhere, damn If I can see it though.

Won't be legal in the US (0, Troll)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | about 7 years ago | (#20463927)

With the fundies in charge and the technologists in the back pocket of the government, the growth of heart valves from adult stem cells will be prohibited in some obscure provision tucked into who knows what sort of must-pass spending bill...

Re:Won't be legal in the US (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20463967)

Quite incorrect. The fundies only dislike fetal stem cells and full-organism cloning. This shouldn't cause an issue with them.

Re:Won't be legal in the US (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20464153)

*ahem*

s/fetal/embryonic/ ./get --amount=more --type=coffee

Religious Bashing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464111)

So are you bashing them because you hate them, or over the issue. I'll giveyou a hint, it's (B). You're pretty fucking ignorant of their aversion to purreeing babies.

Preventing Rejection (5, Funny)

pscottdv (676889) | about 7 years ago | (#20463943)

Growing a heart value from your own cells means that tissue rejection isn't an issue

What slashdotters need is a way to grow a girlfriend from their own cells.

Re:Preventing Rejection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20463985)

This is doable with today's technology. It takes about 18 years, 12 in Alabama.

Re:Preventing Rejection (1)

UPZ (947916) | about 7 years ago | (#20464113)

For that you'd still need a backbone ;)

Re:Preventing Rejection (2, Insightful)

jcgf (688310) | about 7 years ago | (#20465651)

Don't you mean a rib?

Re:Preventing Rejection (0, Offtopic)

eln (21727) | about 7 years ago | (#20464125)

If you have sex with your own clone, is that still incest?

Re:Preventing Rejection (2, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | about 7 years ago | (#20464197)

If you have sex with your own clone, is that still incest?
Masturbation perhaps?

Re:Preventing Rejection (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 7 years ago | (#20465857)

If you have sex with your own clone, is that still incest?
Masturbation perhaps?

This exact set of jokes about clones showed up in a SciFi short story in the mid-60s (I believe). I can't recall the author or title for the life of me, but the story concerned a large number of clones (magically turned into both sexes) who worked as a team, mining something out of some remote planet. The two non-clone supervisors found it very difficult to understand the social interactions, etc etc.

Re:Preventing Rejection (1)

Miykayl (841085) | about 7 years ago | (#20464491)


That's a good idea... I think there are numerous slashdotters that are sufficiently in love with themselves to prefer a their clone... Wait... what about the gender! Oh No! What have WE DONE?!?

Re:Preventing Rejection (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 7 years ago | (#20465231)

Simple enough; remove the Y chromosome and substitute a duplicate X.

Make sure you screen for some defeciences first though.

Heart Value (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20463981)

A typo, perhaps?

Re:Heart Value (0, Offtopic)

crow (16139) | about 7 years ago | (#20464327)

Looks fine to me. Are you reading this at a computer in a pvblic library?

Tissue Rejection Not an Issue (4, Insightful)

slughead (592713) | about 7 years ago | (#20463987)

Tissue rejection isn't an issue with heart valves (one of the few tissues where it's not a problem).

The problem with heart valves is that if you replace one with, say, a pig valve, it won't grow. For adults, this is not a problem, but for kids, it means they'll have to have a replacement in a few years as their heart literally grows out of the valve(s).

This new grow-your-own approach would probably be best for children. For adults, however, heart valve replacement is actually fairly routine and requires no anti-rejection drugs afterwards.

Re:Tissue Rejection Not an Issue (5, Informative)

ambulatorybird (1151807) | about 7 years ago | (#20464145)

I've had a valve replacement myself, and I believe there are two problems: (1) pig valve: those are basically like leather, and they wear out after 5 years, requiring replacement even in adults. And open heart surgery isn't normally something one wants to have on a regular basis. (2) artificial valve: blood clots form on them, requiring the patient to take anticoagulant drugs for the rest of his life.

Re:Tissue Rejection Not an Issue (2, Informative)

cayle clark (166742) | about 7 years ago | (#20464807)

When I was getting ready to have my aortic valve replaced, the surgeon showed me a porcine valve; in appearance it is nothing like leather, but rather an incredibly thin and flexible structure. The aortic valve is not like a flap valve, but more like three little plastic grocery bags hung from the sides of a pipe. When blood flows one way, the leaflets collapse against the wall; when it flows the other way, whap, they fill up and block the tube.

There is no rejection problem with porcine or bovine heart valves because everything except the collagen has been chemically leached out of them; there's no distinctly cow/pig cell material left for the human immune system to react to. Same for a human-tissue replacement valve (harvested from a cadaver). Nevertheless, I think a lot of people opt for the mechanical valve (and a lifetime of coumadin) because of the "ick" factor.

The reliability figures I got from researching medical journals was that my porcine valve should last 15 years (not 5). At the time (2002) I told the doctor, "Great, by the time I need another, they'll be able to grow it from my own cells." I am just delighted this is proving to be true!

p. s. I also predicted that by 2017 they would be installing new valves using minimally-invasive, arthroscopic surgery -- not opening the chest like a book. There has been progress on that front, too...

Re:Tissue Rejection Not an Issue (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 7 years ago | (#20465391)

Are you sure the lifetime of a pig valve is that low? I took a class about the history of artificial organs, and recall reading about newer generation processing to pig valves to make them last at least 15 years.

Re:Tissue Rejection Not an Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464527)

Aside from the problem with wearing out in five years, there are some people, e.g. jewish, muslim, who wouldn't be willing to accept a pig valve.

Old Colony vs. New Colony (0, Troll)

Shoten (260439) | about 7 years ago | (#20463991)

[humor mode on]
Of course the British are working on doing this in labs. They lost all their colonies. But we don't need this stuff; this kind of thing is what Puerto Rico is for :)

Re:Old Colony vs. New Colony (1)

grayNOISEeffect (911023) | about 7 years ago | (#20465033)

Troll... but true. We've been used for pharm testing and alien abductions since before I was born. :/

Silly question, but... (3, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 7 years ago | (#20463997)

...won't this be a problem if there's a genetic defect in the patient's heart valves? In other words, won't the replacement be following the same DNA blueprint, and have the same problems?

IANanMD, but I would think this would pose problems with usability, wouldn't it?

Re:Silly question, but... (2)

Stonent1 (594886) | about 7 years ago | (#20464057)

Well if the valve failed because a defect in the formation as it grew, you'd be able to see that defect while it was growing in the lab and if it didn't have the defect, it could be implanted.

Adult Stem Cells? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464007)

Well I can't help but notice that the slashdot liberal contingent isn't giving The First Lady Laura Bush credit for being RIGHT about adult stem cells.

So we murdered all those babies for nothing. That's the real story here.

The Religious Right Extremists... (1, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | about 7 years ago | (#20464079)

...and the anti-genetic manipulation extremists will take issue with this kind of research. The religious folks will say we're playing god and that it's not good to fight his will. "If his will was for you to have faulty heart valves that it's probably a punishment because you've done something wrong. Maybe you didn't support president Bush, or you faltered in your stance against gays, or you said 'hi' to a liberal moonbat, or didn't tithe on Sunday. Whatever the case, you're a sinner and deserve to burn in hell for all eternity so he made your heart valves faulty. Just get right with God and he'll recreate your heart valves so that they're as good as a new born's". (No, I'm not being hyperbolic, I've dealt with christian fundamentalists who actually think and say things like this)

On the other hand, the extremist anti-genetic manipulation folks will say, "This goes against nature. We do so many things that violate the rules of nature which is why the Earth is at such a treacherous tipping point. There are too many people alive at this moment because of the artificial system's we've put in place to help them survive. This contradicts the survival of the fittest and provides us with nothing but an oversurplus of people who just shouldn't be alive right now. This means we're going to exceed the Earth's ability to support life (carrying capacity). By being able to grant people with faulty heart valves longer lives, we're only making the problem worse. Do NOT support the this research. It is an anti-Earth stance and is unsound science".

Meanwhile more people continue to die for oil in Iraq in a war founded on lies. No, the terrorists of 9/11 were not Iraqis. Get over the fact that you were lied to.

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0, Offtopic)

Broken scope (973885) | about 7 years ago | (#20464149)

Wow.... I'm impressed, you made that jump from stem cell research to the war for oil was one of the smoothest I have ever seen during my time on slashdot. /Bow

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0, Offtopic)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#20464207)

I was actually disappointed that it took 20 minutes from posting of the story for someone to complain about Bush. Libdotters are normally on the ball with this.

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0, Offtopic)

FlatLine84 (1084689) | about 7 years ago | (#20464277)

Since when did we think the terrorists were Iraqis... Great points on the FUD storm coming.

PING Dr. Hfuhruhurr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464315)

The religious folks will say we're playing god
SOMEbody has to!

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0, Offtopic)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 7 years ago | (#20464417)

The religious folks will say we're playing god and that it's not good to fight his will.

You'll notice that a lot of them are strongly against abortion, but all for fertility treatment, even though it's rather more like playing God...

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (1)

crrkrieger (160555) | about 7 years ago | (#20464489)

You're kidding, right? You say that you are not being hyperbolic because you have dealt with people actually think and say things like this. Have you actually met anyone who said all of that? Perhaps there are some wackos out there that think like that, but I think that you will find that most Christian Fundamentalists have no problem with such research.

I cannot believe that this post got rated 4 Interesting! It is a troll and a screed. If you need any more evidence of this, just look at the last paragraph talking about Iraq. A true war for oil would have us occupying the oil fields and leaving the rest of the country to rot. It would not have us trying to establish democracy in Iraq and pumping in lots of money and then letting them sell the oil to anybody they want and keep the profits.

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (-1, Offtopic)

BigDumbAnimal (532071) | about 7 years ago | (#20464639)

Trolling I am sure, but I'll bite as you have been modded up a little.
Nice strawman argument (and off topic). No one mentioned any opposition to this in the article, or so far in the comments. There are certainly some kooky people out there with some strange religious beliefs, but it isn't biblical. Your story about how you have 'dealt' with some fundamentalists is regrettable. What they told you isn't biblical either.

As for your silly jump to Iraq: Here ya go from the liberal gods:

Bill Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq to end their WMD programs [youtube.com]
Gore talks about Saddam's WMD plans [youtube.com]
So I guess Bill and Al are also liars. Clinton should praise Bush for not being a wuss and doing the work Bill (or Bush 41st) should have done before.

Thanks

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465013)

"...and the anti-genetic manipulation extremists will take issue with this kind of research. The religious folks will say we're playing god and that it's not good to fight his will."


Most of the right-wing problem with stem cells comes from those concerned with abortion, by far, and so opposition to adult stem cell work is in no way a conservative viewpoint. While there are always going to be people who believe that the world is flat, the moon landings are fake, and the Second Coming was in 1847 but was "invisible", that doesn't cover conservatives any better than calling all liberals eco-terrorists.

Most conservatives I know are wary of things that could be seen to be messing with the substance of what people "are", but if they can find a way to remove the ethical reservations they have about it, embrace it just as fast as anyone else does. You are going to have a significantly easier time convincing someone that something from themselves is safer to use than something from another person, particularly one who became spare stem cells in a way that they consider to be unethical.

I know you said "extremists", but the linkage to the Bush Administration's Iraq policy leads one to believe that you mean that "right-wing extremists" is the same thing as the 46% or so of people in the US who re-elected Bush. Or perhaps you mean that a discussion on medical ethics is merely a smokescreen in a world where we should only be talking about the uh... ethics... of the Iraq war and the alleged lying involved.

Re:The Religious Right Extremists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465027)

"Get over the fact that you were lied to.."

WTF? So we should accept that we were lied to and the war is good? Try previewing your post next time, cock monster.

Maybe I'm offtopic and Parent is a Troll, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465693)

This goes against nature. We do so many things that violate the rules of nature which is why the Earth is at such a treacherous tipping point. There are too many people alive at this moment because of the artificial system's we've put in place to help them survive. This contradicts the survival of the fittest and provides us with nothing but an oversurplus of people who just shouldn't be alive right now. This means we're going to exceed the Earth's ability to support life (carrying capacity).
While it goes against our American ideals, the philosophy of "the greater good" is often at least a good way to play Devil's Advocate. It's generally wise to wholly consider the opinions of the other side before you throw up your mental walls against their ideas. The odds are that you're not 100% right and that they're not 0% right.

Obviously you have very strong feelings about this because you have done significant research or studying into the matter. Would you please enlighten the rest of us as to why what these "extremists" are saying (quoted above) is flawed?

A small step for science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464209)

...a large step for politicans who still need some TV time to boost their ego by complaining about this scientific achievement because they just remembered the word "ethics" and looked it up in a dictionary to be sure it means what they think it means.

In the meantime people keep dying because of diseases that could have been cured for long if only the politican-needs-more-TV-time delay wouldn't hinder further progress every time something was achieved.

That's nothing! (3, Funny)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 7 years ago | (#20464281)

Real geeks build their own pacemaker.

Re:That's nothing! (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | about 7 years ago | (#20465413)

That is why MDs are not "Real geeks" and get girlfriends.

New Valve? (2, Funny)

Double Entendre (1123719) | about 7 years ago | (#20464347)

I'm open to it.

Too soon?

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464437)

Heart patients in the U.S. are routinely transplanted with "pig" (actually bovine) heart valves. Heart valves are cartilagenous, and for this reason do not typically produce a xenogenic or graft vs. host reaction. For example, heart valve replacement patients do not usually need to take immune suppression drugs and the transplants have expected service lives measured in decades.

Being reported in theJournal of the Royal Society? (4, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20464509)

If it's being reported in a proper journal, do we have a link to the journal itself rather than something from the Daily Hysteria?

The Daily Mail is famous for blowing medical reports out of all proportion - they "cure cancer" an average of 2 or 3 times a year.

Rejection is always an issue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464633)

Just becasue it was "grown" from a stem cell harvested from your body does not guarantee that your body will not reject it.

Auto-Immune System problems anyone?

Caucauios optimisim (2, Insightful)

mavi_yelken (801565) | about 7 years ago | (#20464689)

The procedure is still untested in animal experiments, meaning they don't know if transplanted it will work at all but this is certainly encouraging. Best of luck to Dr. Yacoub and his team.

Also I couldn't find a link to the paper by Dr. Yacoub which should have been here [royalsoc.ac.uk]

Yay heart valves (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20464709)

As a person born with a bicuspid Aorta valve (In other words, my Aorta valve, the valve that pumps blood to most of the body, has two flaps instead of three) this excites me greatly. Since I was born I've had to live every year with the possibility that I would have to have a mechanical implant if I ever overexerted my heart. I truly, truly hope that this caches on, not just for me but for the 1 in 300 (According to my cardiologist the number is that high) people who have the same or similar conditions to me.

Praise science!

Re:Yay heart valves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465551)

I too have a deformed heart valve that has only two parts instead of three. It was discovered for the first time during my exit physical from the Navy. I was a competitive distance runner before the discovery, and continued running afterwards as well. Don't forgoe exercise in fear of your heart valve giving out. Lack of exercise is more likely to kill you than over exercising. I'm really glad to hear that a natural alternative to the mechanical replacement valves may be on the horizon. Science is a good thing. Moderate exercise and a good diet is good for all of us, good heart valves or bad.

Re:Yay heart valves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20465875)

As previously mentioned, if you are an adult, then this has little bearing on your situation. At some point, your cardiologist will probably suggest that they fix your aortic valve. This is commonly done with the "Ross Procedure", and involves replacing your aortic valve with your pulmonary, and then using a pig valve or human tissue valve to replace the pulmonary. If done now or in the near future, it's generally a 50+ year shelf life until it starts to break down.

I had my Ross done in 1995, but they had to fix an issue with my ascending aorta last year and had to go back in. They typically stint the aorta now when they do a Ross, since it will eventually become an issue later in life. I have no restrictions (other than no weight lifting) and the recovery time isn't as bad as you might think. As scary as the prospect seems, it's a pretty common procedure and beats the alternative of having to fix it in an emergency.

I think the possibility of heart valves from stem cells is huge for infants and kids, and there are a lot of kids that have this done each year.

How many years does it take? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#20465939)

How many years does it take to grow a replacement part? Do we need to start growing replacement bodies a few months after birth in order to have a ready supply of spare parts?
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