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The world’s first 3D printed “artificial heart” was born

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Israeli scientist Tal Dvir from Tel Aviv University holds a transparent cup containing what the university says is the world’s first 3D-printed, vascularised engineered heart, during a demonstration at a laboratory, Israel
Israeli scientist Tal Dvir from Tel Aviv University holds a transparent cup containing what the university says is the world’s first 3D-printed, vascularised engineered heart, during a demonstration at a laboratory in the university, Tel Aviv, Israel April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RC1B909214D0

The 3D printing industry has also seen a major breakthrough. On April 15th, researchers at Tel Aviv University used the patient’s own cells and biomaterials to “print” the world’s first 3D vascularized heart and publish research results in Advanced Science . This is also the first time someone has successfully designed and “printed” a complete heart filled with cells, blood vessels, atrium, and ventricles.

According to the World Health Organization (WTO), cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death worldwide, and heart transplantation is the only available treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure, but there is a serious shortage of heart donors.

The results of this time mean that the heart transplant will be completed manually, and the heart disease patients will not wait for the hope of the heart donation in the future when the death is approaching.

Prior to this, scientists in the field of regenerative medicine could only print simple tissues without blood vessels through 3D technology to promote a more complete healing of the heart.

▲ Brenda Ogle (right), associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota, and Molly Kupfer, a doctoral student, added heart prints to mice. (Source: University of Minnesota )

This time it is a complete heart made of human cells and patient-specific biomaterials.

The researchers took a fat sample from the body of a volunteer patient and then separated the fat into cellular and non-cellular materials. The cells were then edited into pluripotent stem cells (multi-potential cells with self-renewal, self-replication ability, capable of differentiating into any type of Somatic cells, rather than cellular material (mainly composed of collagen and glycoprotein), are made into a hydrogel, equivalent to the printed “ink”.

(Source: Advanced Science )

When mixed with a hydrogel, the cells differentiate into heart or endothelial cells (the latter are cells that line the inner surface of the blood vessel), and then the 3D bioprinter can construct the tissue in layers to produce a heart-compatible immunoglobulin The film, through the CT scanning technology, outlines the shape of the heart, the structure of the blood vessels, and finally “prints” the entire heart.

▲ 3D prints the heart process.

Although the currently printed organs are only rabbit-sized, they have the same chambers and blood vessels as the human heart, and the same process can be used to create a real human heart. This time, using the patient’s own “native” biomaterials eliminates the risk of implant rejection by the immune system and is a critical and innovative place for research success.

Professor Tal Dvir, who led the research, said:

In the past, people have managed to 3D print the heart structure, but not 3D with cells or blood vessels. Our findings demonstrate the potential for future design of individualized tissue and organ methods.

Therefore, this paves the way for future organ and tissue transplantation.

Although 3D printing is considered promising for the design of whole organs, there are still many difficult challenges, mainly due to the high cell count of organs, long-term culture, biochemical growth, and high prices for scientific research and commercialization. This “printing heart” also needs further research and development, such as pumping capacity, pulsating blood and body coordination.

The researchers are continuing to develop the printed heart in the laboratory, and plan to transplant the 3D printed heart in the animal model, proving that it is feasible and universal, and hope that the test will be completed in 1-2 years.

The disease is always unpredictable to appear in one family after another, and people are more vulnerable and vulnerable in the face of a major disease such as heart disease. But at the moment, the day the hospital has an organ printer, maybe it is closer to us.

Pooja Kaintura
Pooja Kaintura is Managing Editor at TechGrits. Unconditional fan of technology and culture wants to share the knowledge acquired with everyone.

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