Scientists print first 3D heart using a patient’s own cells

Scientists print first 3D heart using a patient’s own cells

"People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels", he said. This is believed to be the first time an entire heart with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers has been reproduced in this way. These tissue samples were experimentally reprogrammed to become "pluripotent" or de-identified stem cells.

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

Cardiovascular disease is the world's leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization, and transplants are now the only option available for patients in the worst cases.

To make sure the heart's shape matched up with the anatomy of the patient, CT scans were used to gather a basic blueprint of the organ, including the orientation of the major blood vessels in the left ventricle.

Dr. Assaf Shapira looks at a digital image of a 3D printed heart, which 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.

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The Israeli team's findings were published on Monday in Advanced Science, a peer reviewed, open access journal. "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 team has successfully printed a 3d model heart using cell matter from a human source.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University produced the 3D heart, which is about the size of a cherry, the Agence France-Presse reported. The team then made the extracellular matrix - made up of collagen and glycoproteins - into a hydrogel used as the printing "ink".

The researchers are now planning on culturing the printed hearts in the lab and "teaching them to behave" like hearts, Dvir said. Professor Dvir reckons that in maybe 10 years, we will see 3D printed hearts routinely transplanted into humans. While they still have some kinks to work out - the heart can contract but not pump out blood - they plan to eventually test out 3D-printed hearts in animal models. When the integration with the patient is complete the synthetic bio-scaffolding would begin a disintegration process, which would then leave space for the living organ to fully accommodate itself in its new home.

While the team's achievement is notable in this regard, Dvir contends its only the first breakthrough among many that will be needed for a truly operable organ: "We need to develop the printed heart further", Dvir said.

Using the patient's own tissue was important to eliminate the risk of an implant provoking an immune response and being rejected, Dvir said.

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