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

A 3D printed small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells

The 3D heart was created from human cells obtained through biopsies. Dvir said in a 15 April press statement.

For the first time in history, scientists have created a three-dimensional, fully vascularized human heart.

A team of researchers have successfully printed an entire heart with blood vessels, ventricles and chambers.

To print the heart, the scientists created a "personalized hydrogel" to form "bioinks", according to a paper published today in the journal Advanced Science.

The 3D-printing technology is already being used to construct entire houses in just 24 hours, but using the tech to create a human heart was proving hard.

A team of Israeli researchers has "printed" the world's first 3-D vascularised, engineered heart. "Here, we can report a simple approach to 3D-print thick, vascularized and perfusable cardiac tissues that completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient". Professor Tal Dvir is pictured holding the heart, main. He worked with Prof. Dvir, Dr. Assaf Shapira of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and Nadav Moor, a doctoral student in Prof. (Noor et al., Advanced Science, 2019).

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The inspiration for the study was both Israel's and the United States's issue with heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. and the second leading cause in Israel. Heart transplantation is now the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure. The waiting list for patients in the United States can be as much as six months or more.

But the number of donors is limited and many die while waiting.

A 3D-printed, small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient's own materials and cells. While the Tel Aviv University (TAU) team's 3D-printed heart doesn't actually work yet, it is the closest anyone has ever come to artificially replicating one of our most complex and vital organs. "Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future", he said in a university news release.

The technology has developed to include 3D prints of everything from homes to guns.

Researchers took fatty tissue from a patient, then separated it into cellular and non-cellular components. Those cells were then differentiated into cardiac and endothelial cells, which make up the lining of blood vessels, starting the process. By alternating between the two different inks, the researchers were able to construct patches of heart tissue with blood vessels that are compatible with the patient's immune system.

They plan to transplant them into animal models, hopefully in about a year, said Dvir. 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.

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