<<Can This New Surgery Actually Revive a Dying Heart?
Upstart Bioheart's complex cell-transfer procedure offers hope against
America's No. 1 killer
Ten people in Europe are making medical history. Their damaged hearts have
all been rejuvenated with the help of implanted cells taken from their
thighs. The technique was pioneered by a tiny Fort Lauderdale startup called
Bioheart Inc., and it is groundbreaking for a number of reasons--not least
because it offers hope to millions of heart attack victims. But the technique
also marks an important step forward in the nascent field of medicine known
as tissue engineering. Scientists have successfully prodded the human body
into regrowing skin, cartilage, bone, and even corneas by manipulating cells.
The Bioheart patients, however, represent one of the first successes in
regenerating portions of a far more complex organ.
It is still very early days for this technique, known as myogenesis, but it
is already generating considerable buzz among heart disease specialists.
Status reports on the 10 patients will be given at a special session during
the American Heart Assn. annual meeting in mid-November. Guidant Corp. (>GDT</A>
), a maker of medical devices, was intrigued enough to invest $1.5 million in
two-year-old Bioheart in June. And another tissue engineering company, Osiris
Therapeutics Inc., is developing a similar technique, which has yet to be
tested in humans...>
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