The world’s first 3-D vascularized heart has been “printed” or engineered using a patient’s own cells to create human tissue and vessels, marking a scientific first and a major step toward a future in which replacement human hearts might be manufactured.
The amazing scientific feat was accomplished by a team of researchers at Tel Aviv University. The results of their work were published in the Journal, Advanced Science, on Monday.
The 3-D printing of biological parts
The breakthrough “printing” of a 3-D replacement heart wasn’t done at full-scale. The heart scientists created is only the size of a rabbit’s heart. Nonetheless, the ability to use a patient’s own tissue to successfully create a vascularized heart of any size has never been done before.
Scientific first is only the beginning
“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” team leader and lead author of the study Professor Tal Dvir said. “People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.”
“Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,” Dvir added.
3-D printing of other parts occurring elsewhere
The team of scientists in Tel Aviv are among the many around the world using 3D printing technology to manufacture biological parts.
University of Toronto scientists have been working on using 3-D printing technology to create new skin to cover wounds.
University of Minnesota scientists developed a transparent to help them research and understand brain activity.