This is a world first: researchers from Tel Aviv University have made a 3D print of a heart with blood vessels from human tissue.
This is a breakthrough for medicine and an encouraging hope for people waiting for a transplant. Scientists from Tel Aviv University, Israel, announced that they have achieved the feat of creating a whole heart through 3D printing, all using human tissue cells.
For now, this heart is only a few centimeters big. The prospect of seeing it one day grafted in humans remains rather utopian, but scientists think they can enlarge it to make it operational “within ten years.”
“This is the first time anyone has been able to produce and print an entire heart with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” enthuses Tal Dvir, project leader. “In the past, scientists have succeeded in 3D printing the structure of a heart, but not with cells or blood vessels.”
No problem of rejection
If it ends up becoming functional, this incredible heart printed in 3D could put an end to the waiting of the patients. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death and transplantation is often the only treatment option. But the donors are missing, and even in case of transplant, there is a risk that it will be rejected by the body. It is for this reason that this heart printed in 3D is interesting because it allows circumventing this problem.
“The biocompatibility of the materials used is crucial to eliminate the risk of rejection of the graft, which counteracts the success of this type of treatment,” says Tal Dvir.