A team of scientists from the University of Tel Aviv, led by Tal Dvir, have achieved a milestone in biotechnology: the impression of a whole heart from human tissue with a 3D printer.
"It is the first time that a heart is made with a 3D printer with human tissue of a patient - explains Dvir in a statement -. "This heart is made of human cells and the patient's specific biological materials. We took a small biopsy of the patient's fatty tissue, we removed all the cells and separated them from collagen and other biomaterials, we reprogrammed them to be stem cells and then differentiated them into their cardiac cells and blood vessel cells. Then, biomaterials were processed to convert them into "biotin", which will allow them to print with the cells. Previously, the structure of a heart had been printed in 3D, but not with cells or with the Blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of this technique for the personalization of tissues and organs in the future. "
The final result, published in Advanced Science, is a heart about 3 centimeters, equivalent to the size of a rat or a rabbit. For the moment, "the cells can contract, but the whole heart does not pump," adds Dvir. The next challenge is to make these cells mature and help them communicate with each other, so that they contract together. And then we will have another challenge, to develop a bigger heart, with more cells. Our hope is that in ten or fifteen years we have 3D printers in hospitals, which will provide tissue for patients. Maybe hearts.