They say bacon is not good for the heart. In Heidelberg, Germany, that is changing. Our porky little friends are being used to produce scaffolds for refreshed hearts infused with human stem cells. This results in transplantable hearts for those that can’t wait for donor human hearts.
The first step in the process of creating a pig heart for transplant into a human from to strip the pig’s heart of pig heart cells.
Then the resulting scaffold is refreshed with stem cells from a human. The result: a pig heart transformed with human cells.
What does this mean for humans?
Well, in terms of heart transplants we will have the ability to treat everyone who needs one. Right now there is a shortage of human heart donors. There are thousands of people waiting to receive a transplanted healthy heart from an unfortunate accident victim.
The new pig-powered procedure is experimental. And it may be decades before it can be performed to help humans. Controversy around stem cells is not helping matters. Still, these advancements may one day lead to the replacement of organs such as, lungs, livers and kidneys.
Learn more in this video: A New Heart Grown from Stem Cells