World’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue revealed

Laverne Higgins
April 17, 2019

Before introducing them in organ transplantation, researchers first need to test them on animals and then on humans.

Current 3D printers are also limited by the size of their resolution and another challenge will be figuring out how to print all small blood vessels. While scientists have advanced various procedures in heart transplantation, the situation for patients in needs remains less than favorable on two grounds: the finding of a suitable donor is hard and the bodies acceptance of this foreign entity is not without risk of fatal rejection of the immune system.

To create the bioinks used to build the heart, scientists took fatty cells from a patient and reprogrammed them to become pluripotent stem cells before differentiating them into cardiac and endothelial cells, which form the vascular interior.

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.

April 15 (UPI) - Researchers at Tel Aviv University have managed to 3D print a heart using a patient's cells and biological materials - a first. The team has successfully printed a 3d model heart using cell matter from a human source.

Another problem is how to expand the cells to have enough tissue to recreate a human-sized heart, he said.

The heart, which is about the size of a rabbit's, advances the possibilities for transplants according to the researchers.

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Meanwhile, the lab heart does not have a pumping ability, now the cells contract, but they do not work together.

Although the 3D human heart represents a promising step towards transplant engineering, further research is needed.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and Israel, and heart transplants are often only afforded to those with end-stage heart failure, but the lengthy wait (up to six months) for a suitable donor can often prove fatal.

"Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient's tissues", said Dvir.

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. When the integration with the patient is complete the synthetic bio-scaffolding would begin a disintegration process, which would then leave space for the living organ to fully accommodate itself in its new home. The hope is that within "10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely", Dvir said.

BREAKING: Israeli scientists have created a real, live heart using human tissue in a revolutionary 3D printing process.

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