Tiny 3D printed human heart created by scientists in transplant breakthrough

16 Avril, 2019, 04:48 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • A tiny heart is made in a 3D printer in a process developed by Tel Aviv University scientists

The cells were reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, while the extracellular matrix of collagen, sugars and proteins were processed into a personalized hydrogel. Currently, the hearts can only contract but researchers plan on culturing the 3D printed hearts and teaching them how to operate like the real deal.

A 3D printer prints what Israeli scientist Professor Tal Dvir says is the world's first 3D-printed vascularized engineered heart, in a laboratory at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 15, 2019.

This latest invention represents a major turning point for patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), as heart transplantation is the only definitive treatment for patients in the end-stages of the disease.

They then mixed the cells and the hydrogel to create so-called "bio-inks" for cardiac patches, which were followed by an entire heart. Personalized organs would be more easily accepted by the body.

The tiny organ, now only the size of a cherry, was engineered from the tissue of patients which was use to create a bio-ink.

Until now, 3D printing has only been used to produce simple tissues without blood vessels, including making the structure of a heart but without the necessary vascular elements to make it actually pump.

Though it's much smaller than a human heart-at only 2.5 centimeters, it's about the size of a rabbit's-the proof-of-concept still contains a fully vascularized structure, complete with its own cells, ventricles and atria.

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Journalists were shown a 3D print of a heart about the size of a cherry at Tel Aviv University on Monday as the researchers announced their findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science.

3D printed construction of a miniature heart model. "In fact, this method allows us to print any organ that is required for a transplant and we believe that this method opens the door to future technologies, which will make the need for organ donors completely unnecessary".

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

Though the heart cells now contract, they're not synchronized or entirely functional. The use of "native" human material was imperative to the successful creation of the tissues and organs, the team said.

"Maybe, in ten years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely", Dvir said.

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

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