Hearts from skin cells: the future of regenerative medicine

Unfortunately, the deaths of patients who were on the waiting list to receive organs that could have saved their lives are the order of the day.

It is true that little by little the citizen awareness in subjects of organ donation, but has not yet done enough, so the demand is still much greater than the number of organs available.

Therefore, finding a way to create organs, without having to have a donorIt would be a scientific discovery that would save thousands of lives, in addition to being a before and after in the area of regenerative medicine.

Organ creation on a collagen scaffold

Since 2008, a group of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital, directed by Harald Ott, has developed in rats a method for obtaining in vitro functional organs.

To do this, they take the organ to be replaced and remove all the cells with the help of a very powerful detergent. Thus, only the collagen matrix, duly vascularizedthat cannot give rise to immunological rejection.

About that scaffoldgrow stem cells, which end up generating new cells and, therefore, a completely healthy organ. This can be applied to all kinds of systems and, in fact, they have already managed to generate kidneys and lungs in rats, but the heart is still a pending issue.

Obtaining hearts from skin cells is already a reality

Getting hearts through this method seemed impossible, but these same researchers have managed to take some very promising steps.

To do this, they have obtained stem cells through the reprogramming of cells from the patient's skin. Once obtained, they differ in cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) and are grown on the collagen scaffolding.

Although it is still early to talk about complete hearts, it has already been achieved contractile and electrically sensitive tissue, so the synthesis of heart patches to repair damaged hearts after a heart attack that could be a close reality.

Be that as it may, until we can talk about complete and functional organs, it is very important to continue with awareness campaigns on the donation of all kinds of organs. It is necessary to put aside prejudices and think that when one life ends, it can lengthen another. For everything else, let's let the scientists work.