In a major breakthrough in medical field, Tel Aviv University researchers have unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science.
The printed heart will prove to be a big boon to patients who require heart transplants.
It marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Tal Dvir, who led the project.
“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,” he said.
In the wake of huge cases of patients with end-stage heart failure, the need to develop new approaches to regenerate the diseased heart is urgent.
Though 3-D printed heart gives scientists huge hope of transplantation, challenges remain. The cells are currently able to contract, but do not yet have the ability to pump, scientists said.
“Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,” Dvir said.
How the major breakthrough was achieved, the statement released from Tel Aviv University said, “A biopsy of fatty tissue was taken from patients and used in the development of the “ink” for the 3D print. First, patient-specific cardiac patches were created followed by the entire heart.”
Using the patient’s own tissue is important to eliminate the risk of an implant provoking an immune response and being rejected, Dvir said.