I was scouting around for interesting articles outlining Medtech which did not rely on software but which leveraged other technologies and I came across this great article from CNN which highlights the use of stem cells and robotics. Built from the scaffolding of a pig’s heart and the patient’s cells, this cardiac breakthrough may soon be ready for transplant into humans. Thanks to a now-commercialised research team. Find below exerts of the blog:
The first time the team leader, molecular biologist Doris Taylor, saw heart stem cells beat in unison in a petri dish, she was spellbound.
“It actually changed my life,” said Taylor, who directed regenerative medicine research at Texas Heart Institute in Houston until 2020. “I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s life.’ I wanted to figure out the how and why, and re-create that to save lives.”
That goal has become reality. At the recent Life Itself conference, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN, Taylor showed the audience the scaffolding of a pig’s heart infused with human stem cells — creating a viable, beating human heart the body will not reject. Why? Because it’s made from that person’s own tissues.
“Now we can truly imagine building a personalized human heart, taking heart transplants from an emergency procedure where you’re so sick, to a planned procedure,” Taylor told the audience.
“That reduces your risk by eliminating the need for (antirejection) drugs, by using your own cells to build that heart it reduces the cost… and you aren’t in the hospital as often so it improves your quality of life,” she said.
Debuting on stage with her was BAB, a robot Taylor painstakingly taught to inject stem cells into the chambers of ghost hearts inside a sterile environment. As the audience at Life Itself watched BAB functioning in a sterile environment, Taylor showed videos of the pearly white mass called a “ghost heart” begin to pinken.
“It’s the first shot at truly curing the number one killer of men, women and children worldwide — heart disease. And then I want to make it available to everyone,” said Taylor to audience applause.
If transplants into humans in upcoming clinical trials are successful, Taylor’s personalized hybrid hearts could be used to save thousands of lives around the world. In the US alone, some 3,500 people were on the heart transplant waiting list in 2021.
“That’s not counting the people who never make it on the list, due to their age or heath,” Taylor said. “If you’re a small woman, if you’re an underrepresented minority, if you’re a child, the chances of getting an organ that matches your body are low.
If you do get a heart, many people get sick or otherwise lose their new heart within a decade. We can reduce cost, we can increase access, and we can decrease side effects. It’s a win-win-win.”
Taylor can even envision a day when people bank their own stem cells at a young age, taking them out of storage when needed to grow a heart — and one day even a lung, liver or kidney.
“Say they have heart disease in their family,” she said. “We can plan ahead: Grow their cells to the numbers we need and freeze them, then when they are diagnosed with heart failure pull a scaffold off the shelf and build the heart within two months.
As ever Meditech breaks new boundaries. We are currently working with blood testing business that promises accelerate diagnosis and catch illness far earlier than traditional methods as blood can be routinely screened for a multitude of conditions for less than the price of a meal out.