A Recellularized Heart – A New Heart with Old Cells

Heart failure is a disease that is currently affecting over 22 million people worldwide and that number is expected to rise as the “BabyBoomers” become senior citizens. There are a number of breakthrough medications, repair procedures, and even complete heart transplants that can extend the patients life, but most diagnosed die within five years despite our current defenses. Doris Taylor a Biologist at the University of Minnesota has created a new innovation to the fight against heart disease.

The Recellularized Heart is a donor heart that has had the donor cells removed and replaced with the patients cells. The process entails flushing the cells out with a type of detergent that leaves on the skeletal looking extracellular matrix. Then the progenitor cells from the recipient are injected into the matrix thus reducing the risk of incompatibility. Amazingly the cells begin to divide and form tissues thus creating a new heart that is better than before and 100% compatible with the recipient

Human trials are currently underway and the pre-results are showing to be positive. If all goes as planned this technology could be put to use in transplants within a decade. This is by far the largest stride in producing a viable transplant that is a universal solution to transplant rejection. The recellularization of a heart gives hope to other types of organ transplantation as well. Right now Taylor is dedicated to recellularizing a heart, her goal is to see this process being used to save millions of lives and give heart disease patients meaningful recoveries.

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