Scientists 3D-printed heart from actual human tissue

Science

16 Apr 2019

#Breakthrough: Scientists printed first-ever 3D heart using actual human tissue

In a major breakthrough, scientists have 3D printed an actual heart from human tissue.

The organ has been created with all cardiovascular elements, including cells, blood vessels, chambers, and ventricles - something that has never been done in the history of regenerative medicine.

This is something that could ultimately end the shortage of donors for heart transplantation.

Here's all about the new 3D-printed heart.

Development

Small 3D heart printed with human biological materials

Small 3D heart printed with human biological materials

3D printing technologies have been used for a number of medical purposes, including the generation of simple tissues.

But, researchers from Tel Aviv University took a giant leap when they managed to print an actual heart using cells and other biological materials.

The organ carries cells and other elements of a regular heart but is pretty small; just as big as a rabbit's heart.

This could revolutionize heart transplantation

"At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of a rabbit's heart. But larger human hearts require the same technology," Professor Tal Dvir, who led the team, said, noting that the development demonstrates their potential for revolutionizing heart transplantation in the future.

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Printing process

How the team printed this heart

For printing 3D heart, Dvir's team took a biopsy of fatty tissue from patients and separated the cellular material from it.

The material was then processed to form a hydrogel that served as the 'ink' for their 3D printing model and allowed the team to create complex tissues, cardiac patches with blood vessels, and ultimately an entire heart.

Function

Still, it is not fully functional

Still, it is not fully functional

While the printing of a realistic heart marks a major development, it should be noted that it isn't fully functional.

The organ can contract but there's no blood-pumping - a problem that has to be resolved to get the whole thing closer to human compatibility.

The team says it plans to culture the heart to match its behavior with that of a real one.

Future plans

When 3D printed hearts could be transplanted into humans

As the next step, the team will develop the heart to add pumping capabilities and to make them fully-functional.

Then, they'll begin trials on animal models, which will form the basis of creation of a 3D-printed heart for humans.

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

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Most asked questions

Is this heart functional?

When such hearts can be transplanted into human body?

What is the price of this heart?

Are there other 3D printed hearts?

More questions

Is this heart functional?

Asked 2019-04-16 13:47:58 by Ajay Patil

Answered by NewsBytes

No, the heart does not carry the ability to pump blood.

When such hearts can be transplanted into human body?

Asked 2019-04-16 13:47:58 by Angel Malik

Answered by NewsBytes

Scientists theorized 3D-printed hearts could be available in next 10 years.

What is the price of this heart?

Asked 2019-04-16 13:47:58 by Vivaan Jain

Answered by NewsBytes

This heart is a small research project and not a unit for transplantation.

Are there other 3D printed hearts?

Asked 2019-04-16 13:47:58 by Pari Singh

Answered by NewsBytes

Teams around the world are working on 3D printed organs to help with transplantation.

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