With more than five million Americans living with heart failure, a shortage of donor hearts, and thousands of people dying each year while awaiting a heart transplant, there is an urgent need for a discovery in cardiovascular research that will give heart patients greater hope.
Dr. Doris Taylor and her team of researchers and scientists at the Texas Heart® Institute at St. Luke’s Health–Baylor St. Luke’s, are involved in both laboratory and clinical studies using cell therapy and regenerative medicine to combat heart disease. Their groundbreaking work has led to the discovery that human organs can be regenerated with healthy cells, potentially allowing a cardiovascular patient to receive a heart transplant using their own adult stem cells.
In testing with animal hearts and other organs, the team has demonstrated the ability to strip organs of their cellular make-up and re-seed them with healthy cells. The organ then can be regenerated with the addition of blood and oxygen. Dr. Taylor calls this using nature's platform to create a bioartificial heart.
The hope is that this research is an early step toward being able to grow a fully functional human heart in the laboratory.