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.
Anonymous asked: Could you please post the original photo and a photo of your tattoo? I can't seem to find them anywhere
Anonymous asked: You don't deserve all the negative shit people say! I don't know you but you seem pretty fucking awesome!
Thank you kind stranger! You rule :) x
Anonymous asked: The message I left attacking your tattoo was uncalled for, truth is I'm just jealous of what you have. and you're right I know nothing about your personal life to make such judgments.. I just feel bad about leaving that message though.. and I needed to apologies for it. Hope you can forgive me (It's really well done btw) x
Jealousy makes us do strange things! Just think about it next time before you click *send* x
Anonymous asked: You are actually the most beautiful girl i have ever seen. You seem like a fun, outgoing girl and im so happy for you and alex. I cant believe the amount of fuck wits hassling you about everything, its pretty stuffed up. All the best xx
Wowzer! Thank you so much :) So lovely of you to jump on here and lift my spirits. Have a good night xx
Anonymous asked: You may not literally ask for opinions, but with the things you post, you subconsciously are. Attention seeker.
No, not really. Actually, not at all.
Anonymous asked: No judgement at all, I am just curious, what made you decide to get a tattoo of your relationship after such a short time? I think it's adorable however a very big commitment.
I love Alex, I love that photo of us, I got it tattooed. That’s all really! I know it’s a forever thing x
Anonymous asked: Fuck da haters. I hope you and Alex get married one day n u can shove it in their face. I'm in a newish relationship myself and completely see we're you're coming from. When you know you know right!
Thank you! You’re right, you just know xxx :-*
Anonymous asked: How many relationships have you been in?
Why would I want to expose and discuss my personal life with someone who can’t even tell me who they are?
Anonymous asked: Did you SERIOUSLY just get a tattoo of you and your boyfriend of a few months.. LMAO. No, seriously, are you serious ? .. You are aware you will not last forever, and your next boyfriend/future husband won't be all that pleased of a portrait of you and your first serious boyfriend... lmao
Seriously, why do you even bother? You don’t know anything about my relationship.
Anonymous asked: Whereabouts do you work?
This is weird. Why would an anon ask me this?