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Home Industry News Scientists grow human heart valve

Scientists grow human heart valve

2nd April 2007

British scientists have successfully grown part of a human heart from stem cells for the first time.

Leading heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub, a professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London, believes that the development could have a “major impact” on reducing the number of deaths from heart failure.

He argues that if animal trials taking place later this year prove successful replacement tissue could be used in transplants for people suffering from heart disease within three years, the Guardian reports.

They grew tissue that works in the same way as human heart valves at the heart science centre at Harefield hospital.

This, Sir Magdi believes, is a significant step towards growing whole replacement hearts from stem cells.

“It is an ambitious project but not impossible,” he told the paper.

“If you want me to guess I’d say ten years. But experience has shown that the progress that is happening nowadays makes it possible to achieve milestones in a shorter time. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some day sooner than we think.”

Heart and circulatory disease is the UK’s biggest killer, according to the British Heart Foundation, causing four out of ten deaths in 2004.

The World Health Organisation estimates that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in high and low income countries worldwide, while it is the second cause in middle income countries.

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