Researchers at BIOLIFE4D (IL, USA) have made substantial advances in their goal of 3D bioprinting a full-sized and functional human heart. The team has managed to print a 3D miniature human heart that has the full structure of a life size heart and is partially functional.
The team hope that with this new milestone, they are now one step closer to 3D printing a complete, full-sized human heart which could be used for transplants.
The BIOLIFE4D team was able to develop a bioink that contains unique extracellular matrix compounds resulting in a close resemblance to the properties of a mammalian heart. The 3D printed miniature heart itself has a full structure consisting of four internal chambers, resembling the structure of a human heart. The bioprinted heart has also demonstrated partial functional metrics: the closest scientists have been in replicating a functional human heart through bioprinting.
The company hopes that their research will change the treatment of heart disease by improving the transplant process. Functional 3D printed human hearts could remove the need for donor organs, especially when there are limited donors available.
Ravi Birla, Chief Science Officer for BIOLIFE4D, commented: “We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished, from the ability to 3D bioprint human cardiac tissue last summer to a mini heart with full structure now. These milestones are a testament to the hard work of our team and the proprietary process we have developed that enables this type of scientific achievement.”
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