Thursday, August 21, 2014

Little mini-hearts--insert where needed

In the summer 2014 issue of GW Magazine (Geo Washington Univ--my alma mater), Ruth Steinhardt discusses some interesting work by Narine Sarvazyan, a professor of pharmacology and physiology.

Sarvazyan was looking for universal donor cells the body would not reject and started watching some cardiac muscle cells--myocytes--affecting blood flow.

She thought, why not use these and wrap them in a vein and make a little pump? Essentially,, she created a miniature heart.

Worms have these--to push the blood along.

Older adults also get venous insufficiency--pooling up--say in the legs.

These myocytes start beating like a heart--so engineers can build a structure with the patient's stem cells.

They are calling it CardioVein Technology. It's still in the tinkering stages--but they are excited.