Health Care

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

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

Though completely vascularized, it's too small at about the size of a rabbit heart.

Previously, only simple tissues - without the blood vessels they need to live and function - had been printed, according to a press release from the university. Tal Dvir of TAU's School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology as cited by The Jerusalem Post.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States.

Furthermore, because the heart is made from the patient's own cells, there is a reduced chance that the transplant would fail. The non-cellular materials were turned into a gel that served as the bio-ink for printing, Dvir explained.

The heart, about the size of a rabbit's, marked "the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers". "Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future". Dubbed a "world first", this research was conducted by a team of scientist at Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel. Dvir, Dr. Assaf Shapira of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and Nadav Moor, a doctoral student in Prof.

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.

Challenges that remain include how to expand the cells to have enough tissue to recreate a human-sized heart, he said. The cellular and a-cellular materials of the tissue were then separated. The cells were then "reprogrammed" to become stem cells, which turned into heart cells.

First, patient-specific cardiac patches were created followed by the entire heart, the statement said.

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

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

Once researchers print a heart that functions as it should, they can start testing their technology on real animal models.

Further, they say, "advanced technologies to precisely print these small‐diameter blood vessels within thick structures should be developed".

The cells need to mature for another month or so and then should be able to beat and contract, Dvir said.

The hearts can now contract, but still need to learn how to "behave like hearts", Dvir said, adding that he hopes to succeed and prove his method's efficacy and usefulness.



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