Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Israeli scientists have revealed their ability to create the world's first "human heart" using 3D printing technology.
The team of scientists at Tel Aviv University says using the technique not only synthesized cardiac tissue but also blood vessels, which they said was happening for the first time, describing it as a "great medical achievement" for the hope of heart transplantation.
Scientists hope this step will pave the way for the creation of hearts suitable for cultivation in human bodies as well as the formation of tissues to be used to repair damaged parts of infected hearts.
The hearts that the research team can create are small in size as they are the size of the hearts of rabbits.
"This is the first time anyone anywhere has been able to design and print a heart full of cells, blood vessels, ventricles and heart chambers," said Tal Devere, the world's leading researcher and medical team leader.
"In the past, scientists were able to use this technique to synthesize only the outer structure of the heart, without cells or blood vessels."
But scientists said they still had many challenges to face before fully functional hearts became available for cultivation within the bodies of patients.
Researchers now need to have created hearts "totally imitate the work" of real hearts. The cells can now contract, but they still can not pump.
The next step will be the experience of cultivating those hearts in animal models, and the leader of the medical team hopes to do so within a year.
"Perhaps, within 10 years, the printers of members of the best hospitals in the world will be available, and such operations become routine," he said.
But he said that hospitals would probably start with simpler heart members.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world and transplantation is the only option available for patients with advanced diseases.
But the main problem is that the number of donors is limited and many patients die while they wait for hearts to grow instead of their sick hearts.
In addition, if they have heart, they face the possibility of being rejected by their bodies, the problem that the researchers seek to overcome.
How did the synthesis process occur?
The researchers worked on the biopsy of patients' adipose tissues and used them to develop "ink" or "living organic matter" for use in three-dimensional printing.
The patient's first heart tissue was created and then the heart was completely constructed.
The use of patient tissue is important to eliminate any possibility that tissue culture may increase the sensitivity of immune cells that lead to rejection of the body, said Tal Dafir.
"The biological compatibility of the constituents is important to get rid of the risk of transplant rejection, which puts the success of such treatments at risk."
He pointed out that the challenges remain, notably how to expand the cells so they have enough tissue to recreate the heart size of the human heart.
Current three-dimensional printers are still limited. Another challenge is finding a way to synthesize all of the small blood vessels and tiny capillaries in the heart.
3D printing technology is used in many industries, from homes to weapons to weapons.