On Monday, April 15, 2019, scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print heart made up of human tissue and vessels. This is a major breakthrough in medical science. People have managed to 3D print the structure of heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.
According to World Health Organisation cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death and transplants are currently the only option available for patients in the worst cases but the problem is that we have limited donors and many of the patients die while waiting. With this step towards the medical science, future of heart transplant could be a much easier task then it is right now.
Professor Tal Dvir lead of this project in a press release published by Tel Aviv University said
Technology that we developed in the lab is based on a small biopsy that is taken from the fatty tissue of the patient, the cellular and acellular material is separated while the cells are reprogrammed to become stem cells and differentiate to cardiac and other cells
The heart produced by the researchers at Tel Aviv University is about the size of a rabbit’s. The heart can currently contract but do not yet have the ability to pump. To make a fully working 3D printed heart that would be all good to transplant into patients, lots of challenges remain in the way one of which is that we don’t know how to expand the cells to have enough tissue to recreate a human-sized heart.
But with this breakthrough hope is still there and we hope soon in future we will see a fully working 3D printed heart.