Updated on April 15, 2019, 13:52
Israeli researchers have achieved something sensational: They have created a mini heart with a 3D printer. The prototype consists of human tissue whose cells can not yet contract synchronously. Now the heart is supposed to mature.
Israeli researchers have created a mini heart of human tissue with a 3D printer. The prototype, whose cells can not yet contract synchronously, is the size of a rabbit heart, said study director Tal Dvir from Tel Aviv University on Monday to journalists.
The heart is made of tissue and blood vessels and has chambers. It is comparable to the heart of a human fetus. The researchers present their development in the journal "Advanced Science".
Prototype should mature now
"We biopsy adipose tissue from a patient," biologist Dvir explained. Then cellular and non-cellular components would be separated. "The fat cells are reprogrammed into stem cells, which in turn differentiate into heart cells, endothelial cells and others."
The extracellular material, such as structural proteins, was thus processed into hydrogels, which were then mixed with the different cell types. The 3D printer then generated the mini heart from these "bio-inks".
"The heart is fully compatible with the patient because it is made from its own tissue, and therefore will not trigger an immune backlash," said Dvir.
"It's the first time a whole heart has been printed with cell tissue and blood vessels." In similar experiments hitherto only synthetic substances or other natural tissue have been used.
Now the researchers want to ripen the prototype in a special bioreactor. Within a year, such hearts should be tested in animal experiments, rabbits or rats. It will take many more years for possible clinical use in humans, said Dvir. (Ff / dpa)