Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Scientists print world's first 3D heart using patient's own cells

A 3D printed small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells A 3D printed small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells
Samantha Long | 17 April, 2019, 10:43

The heart is believed to the be the first ever to have been printed with cells, blood vessels and chambers.

He showed a 3D print of a heart with visible vessels; the miniature heart measured less than 3 centimetres in size. These tissue samples were experimentally reprogrammed to become "pluripotent" or de-identified stem cells. Tal Dvir's laboratory in Tel Aviv University April 15, 2019, Israel. Using the patient's materials means the chance of organ rejection by the body is slim to none.

The impact: Heart disease causes one in four deaths in the U.S. (about 610,000 people a year), and there's a shortage of heart donors for transplants, so 3D-printed hearts could help solve a major issue.

Development of replacement organs is not something new, with the first human to receive an artificial heart occurring in 2014.

The personalized, 3D-printed heart at TAU is sized for a rabbit but the researchers are confident the results would be replicable for human trials using the same technology and process, once they can overcome some technical challenges: Current generation 3D printers are limited in resolution so printing all of the critical, finer blood vessels is yet to be overcome.

The researchers published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Advanced Science. The cellular material from the tissues was used as the bionic ink for the printer.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University produced the 3D heart, which is about the size of a cherry, the Agence France-Presse reported.

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Though promising, the team is quick to remind us that their hearts are not yet ready for human transplantation.

A 3D network of extracellular macromolecules including collagen and glycoproteins was processed into a hydrogel that served as the printing "ink".

Israeli scientists in Tel Aviv have created a human heart that completely matches all the anatomical properties of a human patient, using a 3D printer.

The next step is culturing printed hearts in the lab and "teaching them to behave" like hearts, Dvir added. "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".

"Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient's tissues", said Dvir. The cells of the 3D heart are able to contract, but are not yet able to pump, scientists told reporters.

For starters, creating a human heart would take much longer and require billions of cells - not just millions. They hope in the next 10 years, organ printers will be in hospitals "around the world" and the procedures will be a routine practice.

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