Dean Third used to look forward to weekends spent refereeing local football matches, and outings with his young family. But now even walking to the end of the road can leave him breathless and exhausted.
For the past four years, the father of four has suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of the heart muscle which causes it to enlarge, affecting its ability to pump blood to the arteries.
The condition afflicts 12,000 people in the UK, and for most sufferers the cause is unknown. If uncontrolled it can be fatal, and patients must adhere strictly to a regime of
From left to right: A normal pig heart, a pig heart after being decellularised, the pig heart prepared for recellularisation. Photos courtesy of the University of Minnesota.
In a medical first, University researchers have created a beating heart in the laboratory. Using detergents, they stripped away the cells from rat hearts until only the nonliving matrix, or “skeleton,” was left; they then repopulated the matrix with fresh heart cells.
If perfected, the technique may be used someday to generate new hearts for patients. In the United States alone, about 5 million people live with heart failure, 550,000 new cases are