How to Build a Beating Heart

On Friday I discussed one of the recent developments in the science of tissue engineering, the development of artificial blood vessels for transplant by Dr. Laura Niklason of Yale University.  Tonight National Geographic’s Explores series is taking a more global look at how tissue engineering is delivering in the clinic and promising much for the future. You can buy the Nat Geo program here or watch a preview here.

The program focuses on the groundbreaking work done my Professor Harald Ott and Dr. Doris Taylor at the University of Minnesota, who created a bioengineered rat heart was able to sustain its own contractions and respond appropriately to pharmacological stimulus.

As well as tissue-engineered hearts, the program will look at how Luke Massella, born with spina bifida, has benefited from the transplant of a lab-grown bladder, a procedure which was pioneered in dogs  back in 1998 by  Professor Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University. Professor Atala has since gone on to lead a team which has engineered more than 20 different tissues, work that has relied heavily on the insights gained from animal research.

So tune into National Geographic Explorer tonight at 10pm EST and learn how tissue engineering is transforming medicine and bringing hope to millions of patients.

Paul Browne