Currently transplantation is the only good option available for patients in the worst cases of cardiovascular disease. But the donors are limited and many die while waiting. When they do benefit, their bodies sometimes depecits transplant rejection — a problem the researchers are seeking to overcome. With this major breakthrough, 3D organs can be printed on demand to save the lives of people.
This is the first 3D printed 3D created from human cells
Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University have successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers in what they say is a world first. Previously, scientists were able to 3D-print artificial heart using soft flexible silicon material while this new 3D-printed heart is made from real human cells.
Professor Tal Dvir, who led the project, says the miniature organ was made with a patient’s own cells. To make it, Dvir and his team took fatty tissue from patients and converted the fat cells into stem cells. These were added to a gel and then further processed until they turned into heart cells. The cell-containing “bioink” was added to a 3D printer and used to build the experimental organ layer by layer.
The printed heart is small and is only about the size of rabbit heart. But the little organ is considered a big advance and a major medical breakthrough in possibilities for transplants.But some obstacles stand in the way; while the cells can contract they don’t posses the ability to pump, which is the researchers next objective. Questions are also raised regarding the human body feasibility of printed heart under high blood pressure.
However all of this is just a landmark and the next step would be to explore ways to teach 3D printed heart to function normally, experiment its success of transplantation in rats and perhaps produce larger human hearts with the same technology.