X-Message-Number: 12175
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 19:57:21 -0700
From: Olaf Henny <>
Subject: Cryo-Preserve Tissue of Transplant Replaced Organ?

News Item on today's TV:
The parents of an 7 months old boy were told 11 months ago, the 
child would die from an enlarged heart unless he gets a 
transplant.  Today, at age 18 months, he received the heart the 
family was waiting for.  The poor fellow now has to take anti-
rejection medication for the rest of his life.

My thought and question to those in this group, who have more 
insight into future developments of medical technology is:

Would there be any point in cryo-preserving a small tissue sample 
of the boy's old heart?  With the completion of the Human genome 
database in a few years I would conjecture that the 
identification of the culprit gene(s), which triggered the 
abnormal enlargement in the boy's heart would be possible and 
correctable in the cryo-preserved tissue sample.  Future cloning 
technology, or the understanding of mechanics of directing multi 
potent stem cells toward task specific organ creation may well 
accomplish two things:

-  Get the boy a new heart, which is not subject to tissue  
   rejection and thereby relieve him from the lifelong necessity 
   of taking anti-rejection medication with its own inherent 
-  Eliminate the need for subsequent transplants, as the new 
   heart(s) may well fail.

I think it possible, that the technology to accomplish the feat 
of furnishing the boy with a replica of his own gene-corrected 
heart will be available before he reaches maturity.

Am I naive? I'd like to hear the opinions from those with a whole 
lot more knowledge than mine in biotechnology and medicine.

Of course I realize, that it is too late for this particular 
child to cryo-preserve a tissue sample of his heart.


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