Friday, 26 April, 2019

Israeli Scientists Print World's First 3D Heart with Human Tissue

Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of heart with human tissue at the University of Tel Aviv Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of heart with human tissue at the University of Tel Aviv
Anna Jefferson | 16 April, 2019, 04:46

"This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers", lead researcher Tal Dvir, a material scientist and professor of molecular cell biology at TAU, said in a news release.

Though it is still in the early stages of development, this invention represents a breakthrough for transplant medicine, as it may impact the lives of thousands of patients who await heart transplants for end-stage heart failure each year.

Then the cells were reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells, the extracellular matrix that was processed into a personalized hydrogel that served as the ink for the printer that printed the heart. 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.

As simply a "3D printed heart" TAU's is not entirely a first. Heart transplantation is now the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure.

"Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future", said Dr. Dvir.

Scientists have previously built synthetic hearts and bio-engineered tissues using a patient's cells. The use of "native" human material was imperative to the successful creation of the tissues and organs, the team said.

Dvir, in a statement, said scientists had 3D-printed the structure of the heart in the past, but that "this is the first time that a whole heart, with blood vessels and cells is printed".

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Journalists were shown a 3D print of a heart about the size of a cherry at Tel Aviv University on Monday as the researchers announced their findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science.

"But larger human hearts require the same technology", Dvir said.

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

It takes about three hours to 3D print a "mini-heart", and the cells need another month to mature and form a pumping ability, Prof.

"The biocompatibility of engineered materials is crucial to eliminating the risk of implant rejection, which jeopardizes the success of such treatments", Dvir said. Given the number of patients suffering from CHF each year, and its high healthcare costs, the study's researchers were determined to "develop new approaches to regenerate the infarcted heart".

Dvir hopes that within the next decade "there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely". Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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