Researchers at Tel Aviv University have created, through 3D printing, the first artificial, fully vascularized heart, consisting of the patient’s own cells and biological materials.
Their findings were published on Tuesday in Advanced Science. Note that until now, scientists in this branch of medicine (where biology and technology meet) had managed to print only simple tissues without blood vessels.
“It is the first time someone successfully designs and prints an entire heart, complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, etc.”
said Professor Ntvir Tal of TAU, who led the study.
As the researcher pointed out, the heart consists of human cells and biological materials for the individual patient.
“In our process these materials function as” bio-inks”, substances from sugars and proteins that can be used for three-dimensional printing of complex tissue models“
noted Professor Ntvir.
“They have managed to make 3D printing of the heart structure in the past, but not with cells or blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach to creating a personalized tissue and replacing organs in the future. “
The research conducted by Professor Ntvir and Assaf Shapira and Nantav Moore.
“At this stage, our three-dimensional heart is small, rabbit heart size”
“However, the larger human hearts require the same technology.”
According to the researcher, the use of “native” materials, especially for particular patients, is crucial for the successful creation of tissues and organs, as biocompatibility is extremely important in reducing the risk of graft rejection.
“Ideally, the biomaterial should have the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties as those of the patient’s own tissues. Here we can present a simple approach for 3D printed thick, with vascular and permeable heart tissues that fully correspond to the patient’s immune, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties. “
The next goal is the cultivation of printed heart in the laboratory in order to “educated” to act as hearts, according to Professor Ntvir. Then they will be transplanted into animal models.
“We need to develop the printed heart further. Cells need to be able to function as a pump; they can now contract, but they have to work together… maybe in 10 years there are organs printers in the world’s best hospitals, and these processes are routine”