A Piece of My Heart, From My Arm

"Nightline's" Bill Weir reports on cutting-edge medicine that turns skin cells into cardiac tissue.
3:00 | 01/18/13

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Transcript for A Piece of My Heart, From My Arm
What if you could stockpile. A set a spare parts -- for your car for your body. You know extra -- some fresh -- a better all grown in a lab from a piece of your skin. The idea sounded like science fiction until -- doctors at the world famous Mayo Clinic took a tiny piece of my arm into lab. Turned it into living cardiac tissue. Let me what should beat the same rate as the heart and my chest. It is part of a Nobel Prize winning -- spurred by a race to save kids like this. And meet Sophie. Thirty pounds of molten cuteness. Watching his three year old motor around her Minnesota home you would never know she was born with half of a functioning heart. How old was she when she had the first surgery fortieth four days. So her heart was the size -- We're not you know we got to see it beating and tighter checks before they -- amusing. -- you Wear lipstick or your lips nationally that Rosie to -- you can find everything they hear. -- -- -- -- Paul -- After three open heart surgeries. She's doing well. But odds are that -- will still -- -- heart transplant to survive into adulthood. Like Coulter. It and -- She finger and -- -- old pictures or with the same condition he's had two transplants. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And is now on his. Third heart at age ten payroll kids like this and can't help but marvel at the medical talent that can hold off a genetic death sentence. But hang around with the medical talent the Mayo Clinic and you witness more frustration -- prize. Because despite their skills they know there aren't enough little hearts to go around their house to be a better way and doctor Tim Nelson. Thinks she knows what it is the we're here to talk today about it sounds themselves and -- Madison. -- -- Regenerative. Medicine the belief that one day doctors will fix -- diseased or broken bodies with healthy spare parts. Grown in a laboratory. Can you feel -- -- and he's asked for a chunk of my flesh to prove it. And put it in that are. A little blob of arm goes in the pink liquid. And then on to a -- where they will turn my skin cells into the kind of stem cells that formed me as a three week old embryo. The kind of stem cells that can then be coaxed into becoming brain or lung or -- or any other part of my body. We see. Various things on the bottom of this boy looks as -- -- -- these are human cells that are growing forming different types of tissue. And we're guiding -- station and specifically the heart. -- Yeah. It's -- is beating so you are actually looking at somebody's heart -- right now. And that didn't come from -- it came from skin like mine but doctor Nelson has decided to double B a lot cooler. If I became the first person to come to Mayo and see his own heart beating outside his body -- so from a promise to return in a few months. -- -- -- -- -- -- Or do you could consider. I was little bill the -- -- grant got some good things here. -- guys. Oh you know -- in my heart still babysitters. This in the house that your sales of the moon. -- -- -- moms say it's not the best accommodations I -- We've got. It's cleaner than my apartment between. It's a warrant and they get better every day it's so -- -- -- -- become -- my arm home doctor Nelson has me saddle up to the microscope. So this is me you can adjust the guys -- -- -- agency. This is mind and heart tissue -- it's -- Oh yeah. A little -- it was probably slow so this is -- pretty cool mom. The call to sell right now. You can see why this got a medical science just won the Nobel Prize. Why a company like cellular dynamics in Madison Wisconsin is growing billions of cells -- day. So drug companies can test new medicine on the living tissue of specific patients instead of mice. And without any of the controversy becomes of harvesting stem cells from unborn children what -- A crop up -- Now that. Is cool. Doctor Nelson gets most excited when he shows me a tiny piece in my heart tissue that looks exactly like a heart. -- was hoping three dimensional glimpse into -- future. When this kind of cell could theoretically get injected into heart attack victim or diseased child and literally mend broken hearts this is a function tissue that is the hope. But while these cells could grow hearts or lungs or brains they can also grow tumors and it could be years before the science is ready for the first clinical trials on humans. I know you have to be cautious about predictions but in so -- lifetime for this. Savor this builder how they are. That's exactly what we're working towards is a program. This is such a good mom she rocks her -- deep -- planes an amendment that in my heart I get very sad because we'll see you get to have babies funding. That's something she wanted to do -- Still -- the things that I get to think about Mariano. The science is moving fast not fast enough for families like that thanks to them thanks to the Mayo Clinic. Much more an abcnews.com.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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