- Tue, 8/31/10 - 9:24am
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In the 1975 cult classic, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the classic dialog between Sir Belvedere and a peasant takes place as follows:
Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she's a witch?
Peasant: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant: [meekly after a long pause] ... I got better.
Crowd: [shouts] Burn her anyway! 1
Putting aside the wry grin, more science fiction approaches science fact. The brilliant minds at Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco, claim to have induced adult stem cells to recapitulate mouse myocardium using a novel approach to manipulating transcription factor genes to perform this feat. Their plan is to try and make fibroblasts convert to myocardium, a neat trick if it can be performed easily and in large quantities as cardiovascular disease afflicts more than one in three Americans2 and is the major killer of Americans each year since 1900 with the exception of the epidemic flu year in 1918. Of course, fixing “the pump” may improve the body’s ability to “irrigate” and this could beneficial to our patients with ulcers and other wounds. And if they can fix hearts, maybe the pancreas (diabetes mellitus) might not be far behind. We indeed live in exciting times. Stay tuned!
For more information, visit http://www.checkorphan.org/grid/news/research/new-clues-on-regrowing-tissue.
2. PDf link at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3000090