Plastic prosthetic are still the trend, the future seems to have organs made out of 3D printing. Technology has aided in developing valves, stents, and other devices. .However, using 3D printing technology for developing human organs is a far-flung dream. However, scientists have taken an approach to bring this dream one step closer. They are targeting to mitigate risks associated with cardiovascular disease integrating 3D printing.
Heart failure or other cardiovascular diseases are responsible for large proportion of deaths in the United States. This is because heart transplantation is the only option for patients with cardiovascular disease in end stage. On one hand, transplant procedures are expensive, on the other, lack of donor results in death of patients waiting for months. This concern led many scientists to find ways of mending heart tissues to delay the need for a transplant.
However, the idea of cardiac tissue engineering faced many challenges including transplant/material rejection during tissue grafting. Therefore, instead of trying heart tissue grafting with a range of materials, this time scientists used patient’s own body cells. Tel Aviv University’s scientists worked on this idea and successfully moved cardiac tissue engineering to a next level.
Researchers’ Approach in 3D Heart Promises Efficient Organ Replacement in Future
Scientists have taken a groundbreaking approach which enables them to create a closest shaped artificial heart. They introduced 3D bio-printing technology to create a heart-like shape and structure, and also collected cells of fatty tissue from patients. Scientists reprogrammed the fatty tissue cells to turn into pluripotent stem cells and modified non-cellular materials to form “bioink”.
Researchers mixed both stem cells and bioink to start cell differentiation process which ended up forming cardiac cells. It is for the first time that a heart with blood vessels and cells is made using 3D printing technology. Currently, scientists are focusing on developing the printed heart further emphasizing on heart’s contractions or pumping mechanisms.