In a major breakthrough that could solve the problem of unavailability of donor organs for diseased organ replacement, researchers at Tel Aviv University have managed to ‘print’ a 3D heart using fatty tissues from patients
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have “printed” world’s first three dimensional heart complete with blood vessels in a major breakthrough that may revolutionise diseased organ replacement, in the face of acute shortage of donated hearts.
The heart, the size of a rabbit’s heart, was formed using fatty tissues from patients, using their cells and biological materials as bio-links. Professor Tal Dvir, who led the research, says that the same research can be applied to print larger, human-sized hearts.
For now, the heart can contract, but still needs to learn how to “behave like hearts”, Dvir discloses. Printing a 3D heart take about three hours, but it takes a while for it to develop completely as the cells need to form a pumping ability. According to Dvuir, immune-compatible cardiac patches with blood vessels were printed, and then an entire heart. He adds that the use of “native”, patient-specific materials was crucial to engineering tissues and organs successfully.
Optimistic about the future prospects, Dvir believes that in 10 years’ time, organ printers will be available in finest hospitals all over the globe and engineered organ replacement procedures can be conducted routinely.