I’ve seen this photograph very frequently on tumblr and Facebook, always with the simple caption, “Ghost Heart”. What exactly is a ghost heart?
More than 3,200 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant in the United States. Some won’t survive the wait. Last year, 340 died before a new heart was found.
The solution: Take a pig heart, soak it in an ingredient commonly found in shampoo and wash away the cells until you’re left with a protein scaffold that is to a heart what two-by-four framing is to a house.
Then inject that ghost heart, as it’s called, with hundreds of millions of blood or bone-marrow stem cells from a person who needs a heart transplant, place it in a bioreactor - a box with artificial lungs and tubes that pump oxygen and blood into it - and wait as the ghost heart begins to mature into a new, beating human heart.
Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, has been working on this— first using rat hearts, then pig hearts and human hearts - for years.
The process is called decellularization and it is a tissue engineering technique designed to strip out the cells from a donor organ, leaving nothing but connective tissue that used to hold the cells in place.
This scaffold of connective tissue - called a “ghost organ” for its pale and almost translucent appearance - can then be reseeded with a patient’s own cells, with the goal of regenerating an organ that can be transplanted into the patient without fear of tissue rejection.
This ghost heart is ready to be injected with a transplant recipient’s stem cells so a new heart - one that won’t be rejected - can be grown.
I HAVE SO MANY MILES + CATS FEELINGS I NEED MORE ZAP THE CAT IN MY LIFE
AWWWWW if Miles had the memories of a friendlier cat around, and he was trying to get Zap to— well, Lord Auditor Vorkosigan isn’t going to be fool-hardy enough to attempt to proceed with frontal attacks of affection with such spirited resistance, but maybe one of the kittens? Young Sasha trying to emulate one of his Da’s photos?
I’m still laughing at Miles, with his parade ground starched posture in the one you coloured — probably going all ”G’day, Father.”, and Aral’s sweeping out to some ambassadorial dinner exchanging equally solemn salutes with him while Cordelia laughs her ass off —
I looked through all of the Ivan book but there wasn’t so much as a single kitten hanging around his bachelor pad. Maybe Miles’s kids has them while Ivan’s on assignment. But really I feel that Miles needs to have a tribble episode while with the Dendarii — it’s not like he wouldn’t have to transport goods as a mercenary, and think about Taura in her pink gym clothes with fuzzballs.
Actually, catception - I’d rather the adventures of the cat blanket with kittens, like, the blanket is inching its way stealthily to the suspect, while the kittens are riding it like that gif with the roomba-that-deposits-cats: “One’s a never-alive two dimensional cuddle plane, the other is of the dread line of ZAPTHECAT. Together, they fight crime! And treason! And Cetagandan plots! But mostly crime, like WHO TOOK THE LAST PEACH TART >:].”
I think the Dendarii averted their potential tribble catastrophe because the crew has movie nights by shifts and they went through an ancient SF phase. (I just really really like the idea of people in every canon with spaceships setting up all of these off-duty recreational things, okay?)
After Cetaganda, Ivan probably never wants to look at a kitten again. *wincing at the memory of That Scene*
THE CAT BLANKET WITH KITTENS OH MY GOD. I NEED FIC OF THIS.