Researchers have created 3D printed a heart for the first time. It has created a great hope that this technique can be used to repair hearts. The experiment was a success as an entire heart was engineered and 3D printed filled with cells, ventricles, chambers, and blood vessels. Professor Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University, Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology is a senior author of the research. The research was published in the Journal of Advanced Science on Monday.
Earlier, scientists have tried to do it but could only print tissues without blood vessels. High numbers of deaths due to cardiovascular disease has raised concerns in the world. Heart transplantation process is the last resort to treat the case of end-stage heart failure. Hence, 3D printing techniques can be a great solution for heart transplantation.
The process of 3D heart printing involved a biopsy of the fatty tissue. The cells were separated in the tissue and then reprogrammed to differentiate into heart cells. A personalized hydrogel was processed that served as an ink for printing. At an initial stage, the 3D heart is small, a heart of a rabbit. With the same technology, a larger human heart can be printed. Dvir stated that a patient’s own cells can be crucial to engineer tissues and organs.
Future plans of the authors are to train the heart so that it behaves like a heart. Further, the cells need to develop pumping ability. Currently, it can contract, but still, authors believe that they need to work together. If the future researches are successful, scientists have the plan to transplant the heart in the models of the animal. Later, the advanced stage would lead them to transplant in humans. The scientists hope in the coming ten years, the finest hospitals would conduct the transplant procedures on a routine basis.