Scientists at Tel Aviv University have 3D printed a heart containing blood vessels, cells and chambers, using patients’ own biological material, a development that has the potential to have major implications for cardiology. Heart structures have been 3D printed before, but this is the first time a heart has been 3D printed with the biological complexities of this one.
“3D printed heart created in Israel.“
Research lead, Prof Tal Dvir, TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said: “This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers. This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process, these materials serve as the bio inks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalised tissue and organ replacement in the future. We need to develop the printed heart further. The cells need to form a pumping ability; they can currently contract, but we need them to work together. Our hope is that we will succeed and prove our method’s efficacy and usefulness. Maybe, in ten years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely.”