Scientists make world's first 3D-printed heart with human tissue

Modesto Morganelli
Апреля 16, 2019

The differentiated cells were then mixed with the bio-inks and were used to 3D-print patient-specific, immune-compatible cardiac patches with blood vessels and, subsequently, an entire heart.

With that said, while the heart is now too small for a human as it's more appropriately sized for a rabbit, the process used to create it shows a potential for one day being able to 3D print patches and maybe full transplants.

The cells are capable of contracting, but they still need to be taught to work together in order to pump blood effectively, before being tested as a transplant material in animal models, according to research lead Tal Dvir, a professor at Tel Aviv University's School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology and Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology. The paper is co-authored by Nadav Noor, Assaf Shapira, Reuven Edri, Idan Gal, Lior Wertheim and Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University.

Although the organ is only the size of a cherry and can not pump blood, experts said its creating is a "major medical breakthrough".

While it's not clear a printer can produce hearts that are superior to human ones, "perhaps by printing patches we can improve or take out diseased areas in the heart and replace them with something that works" perfectly, he said. For patients with late stage heart failure, a heart transplant is the only solution.

"This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials".

Researchers detailed their breakthrough this week in the journal Advanced Science.

"The biocompatibility of engineered materials is crucial to eliminating the risk of implant rejection, which jeopardizes the success of such treatments", said Dvir.

Challenges that remain include how to expand the cells to have enough tissue to recreate a human-sized heart, he said. Dvir says. "Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient's own tissues".

The cells are now able to contract, but do not yet have the ability to pump. "It's completely biocompatible and matches the patient". The cells were reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, while the extracellular matrix of collagen, sugars and proteins were processed into a personalized hydrogel.

Dvir hopes that within the next decade "there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely". The technology has developed to include 3D prints of everything from homes to guns.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Tel Aviv University American Friends.

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