First heart printed in 3D using patient's biological materials



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In a breakthrough, researchers at Tel Aviv University "printed" the world's first 3D vascularized heart using cells and biological materials from a patient. Their findings were published April 15 in a study in Advanced Science. For more information, see the IDTechEx report on 3D Bioprinting 2018-2028.

Until now, scientists at regenerative medicine – a field at the crossroads of biology and technology – have been able to print only simple tissues without blood vessels.

"This is the first time anybody anywhere has been able to design and print a whole heart filled with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers." says Prof. Tal Dvir, TAU's School of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, which led the research for the study.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Cardiac transplantation is currently the only treatment available for patients with end-stage heart failure. Given the dire shortage of heart donors, the need to develop new approaches to regenerate the diseased heart is urgent.

"In our process, these materials serve as bioinks, substances made from sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models." "This heart is made up of human cells and patient-specific biological materials. Prof Dvir says. "People have been able to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach to custom tissue and organ replacement engineering in the future."

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The research for the study was conducted jointly by Prof. Dvir, Dr. Assaf Shapira of the Faculty of Life Sciences of TAU and Nadav Moor, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Prof. Dvir.

"At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of a rabbit's heart" explains Prof. Dvir. "But larger human hearts require the same technology."

For the research, a biopsy of adipose tissue was removed from the patients. The cellular and cellular materials of the tissue were then separated. While the cells were reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells, the extracellular matrix (ECM), a three-dimensional network of extracellular macromolecules such as collagen and glycoproteins, was processed into a custom hydrogel that served as a "printing" ink.

After being mixed with the hydrogel, the cells were efficiently differentiated into cardiac or endothelial cells to create specific immuno-compatible heart patches of the patient with blood vessels and subsequently an entire heart.

According to Prof. Dvir, the use of specific materials for "native" patients is crucial to the success of tissue and organ engineering.

"The biocompatibility of engineering materials is crucial to eliminate the risk of implant rejection, which compromises the success of such treatments" Prof Dvir says. "Ideally, the biomaterial should have the same biochemical, mechanical, and topographic properties as the patient's own tissue. Here we can report a simple approach to thick, vascularized, and punctured 3D printed heart tissue that completely matches immunological, cellular , biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient.

Researchers are now planning to grow the hearts printed in the laboratory and "teaching them to behave" like hearts, Prof Dvir says. They then plan to transplant the 3D printed heart into animal models.

"We need to develop the printed heart even more" he concludes. "The cells need to form a pumping capacity, they can hire at the moment, but we need them to work together." Our hope is that we will succeed and prove the effectiveness and usefulness of our method. hospitals in the world, and these procedures will be routinely performed. "

Top Source and Image: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

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