Friday, 19 April, 2019

Unpicking the "world's first" 3D printed heart from Tel Aviv University

A 3D printed small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells A 3D printed small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells
Celia Hoffman | 16 April, 2019, 00:42

The heart, about the size of a rabbit's, marked "the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers".

Israeli researchers have printed the world's first 3D heart with blood vessels, describing it as a major breakthrough in engineering replacements for diseased organs. The paper is co-authored by Nadav Noor, Assaf Shapira, Reuven Edri, Idan Gal, Lior Wertheim and Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University.

Scientists have previously built synthetic hearts and bio-engineered tissues using a patient's cells.

As simply a "3D printed heart" TAU's is not entirely a first.

Furthermore, because the heart is made from the patient's own cells, there is a reduced chance that the transplant would fail.

"It's completely biocompatible and matches the patient", reducing the chances of rejection inside the body, said Tal Dvir, the professor who directed the project.

To create the bioinks used to build the heart, scientists took fatty cells from a patient and reprogrammed them to become pluripotent stem cells before differentiating them into cardiac and endothelial cells, which form the vascular interior. "In our process these materials serve as the bioinks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models", Dvir said.

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"The cells need to form a pumping ability; they can now contract, but we need them to work together".

But CT scans can't provide images of the smaller blood vessels crisscrossing heart tissue-there, in order to make sure the entire patch receives enough oxygen, mathematical models were used to create a more-complete vasculature, calculated based on the laws of oxygen consumption and equations for optimal distribution. "Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient's own tissues". The maturing process will take about a month, after which they will transplant them into animals such as rabbits and rats for testing.

Further, they say, "advanced technologies to precisely print these small‐diameter blood vessels within thick structures should be developed".

The hearts can now contract, but still need to learn how to "behave like hearts", Dvir said, adding that he hopes to succeed and prove his method's efficacy and usefulness.

Dvir hopes that within the next decade "there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely".

This article has been republished from materials provided by Tel Aviv University American Friends.

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