It is a research team at the University of Tel Aviv that is behind the heart. The 3D print is complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers. The heart was created using a patient's own cells and biological materials.
- In the past, 3D printing has succeeded in a structure of a heart, but not with cells or with blood vessels. Our results show the potential for organ donation in the future, says Professor Tal Dvir, who led the study, to The Jerusalem Post.
The researchers separated cells and other building blocks from a fat sample. Then they turned the cells into stem cells, which in turn were programmed into blood vessels, among other things. From this, various biological "inks" were created to print different parts of the heart.No one dared
Paul Gatenholm, professor of biopolymer technology at Chalmers University of Technology, says that the technology for doing this has been around for a long time, but that no one has dared to test until now.
- I think what the Israeli scientists have done is fantastic. Since everyone says it is impossible so few test, but they have dared. Actually, they haven't achieved that much yet, but it's visionary and if nobody starts then nothing happens, he says.Does not work yet
So far the heart is not working and there is a long way to go. The next step, according to the researchers, is to make larger hearts, make them function like hearts and to transplant in animals before thinking about moving on with humans.
- It is a well-done work that should inspire more researchers to take the step to healthcare-related research. I would love to see more like this. But their heart is definitely not ready for transplant yet, says Paul Gatenholm.Fat is the solution
But even though the printed heart is only in its infancy, Paul Gatenholm thinks the researchers confirm that fat can be the solution to transplantable printed organs.
- They confirm to us who also work with fat that it is actually the right way to go. There are a lot of cells in a small sample and there will be a body-compatible "ink" of it, which the immune system should not bounce off, he says.
The research was published in Advanced Science.