A ghost heart?

On this Valentine’s Day, while much of the world is busy with overpriced flower bouquets from Walmart, half-eaten boxes of heart-shaped chocolate, and social media updates of lovey-dovey togetherness, I can think of something much more interesting: DECELLULARIZED PIG HEARTS. I spotted this gem on the TED Blog and it was so awesome I had to share it. It’s an incredible idea, and has the potential to save so many people with sick hearts. Also, here’s another article from Biomedical Materials about ghost organs: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-605X/8/1/014106

Read up, my friends!

TED Blog

Here’s a treat for Valentine’s Day (in addition to this playlist of TED Talks about love): Below, take a close-up look at a decellularized “ghost heart.” This heart can serve as a scaffold upon which to grow a working heart from human stem cells. Researchers at the Texas Heart Institute created it by stripping all the living cells from a pig heart with a soap solution, which bursts the cells and leaves only the protein structure behind. These scientists have successfully implanted tissue-engineered hearts into rats and pigs so far. They hope ultimately to create personalized human hearts and help relieve the shortage of donor organs. 

Behold, the "ghost heart." Image: Courtesy of RMR Labs, Texas Heart Institute Behold, the “ghost heart.” Image: Courtesy of RMR Labs, Texas Heart Institute

Read much more in the new TED Book Super Cells: Building With Biology, by Nina Tandon and Mitchell Joachim. It’s available for the Kindle, Nook, and through the

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