Scientists at the University of Tel Aviv have made the first fully-printed 3D heart with blood vessels for which personalized "ink" based on collagen has been used, according to Haaretz.
For this heart, tissues from a patient were used. Until now, researchers have managed to make the human heart only as muscle without the blood vessels.
The new embodiment exactly matches the immunological, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient.
The result was published in Advanced Science by the team leader, Professor Tal Dvir, from Tel Aviv University. He was assisted by Nadav Noor, Assaf Shapira, Reuven Edri, Idan Gal and Lior Wertheim.
"It's the first time anyone else has succeeded in creating and printing a whole heart full of cells, blood vessels, ventricles," Dvir said. "In our process, these materials (human cells and tissues, n.r.) served as 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 approach to personalized tissue engineering and organ replacement in the future. "
He continued: "At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of a rabbit heart." Hearts of a size similar to human can be created using the same technology, the teacher said.
Researchers now plan the cultivation of hearts imprinted in the lab and "teach them to behave like hearts," said Dvir. Then they are designed to create 3D Printed Hearts for Animals.
"We need to further develop our impressed heart. Cells need to learn the ability to pump. Currently, they can contract, but they have to work together. We hope that we will succeed and that we will demonstrate the efficacy and usefulness of our method. Probably, in ten years there will be organ prints in the best hospitals in the world, and these procedures will be common. "
Last year, Dvir and his team produced the first fully customized tissue implant made from patient cells.