Watch as scientists unveil the first ever 3D-printed heart in the video below.
Video credit: AFP news agency
Scientists have created the world’s first 3D-printed heart in a ‘major medical breakthrough’.
It’s the first heart to be printed with cells, chambers, and blood vessels. The cherry-sized organ has human tissues but it can’t pump blood.
So, it will take more time before a normally functioning heart is created. Researchers, however, hope to make one within a year.
The organ is made with human cells, the team of scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel revealed while unveiling the creation on Monday.
‘People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,’ Tal Dvir, the lead scientist, said.
Dvir added that it’s ‘the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers.’
The organ, which can contract but can’t do a full pumping action, is the same size as that of a rabbit’s heart.
It was created from cells taken from the fatty tissues of a human patient. The cells were allowed to multiply so as to form small patches of heart tissues.
Scaling the operation, the scientists were able to create the organ. But they haven’t yet figured out how to expand the process to build an entire human heart.
The breakthrough technique can one day produce a new heart for someone using their own body cells, reducing the risk of organ rejection.
‘Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,’ Dvir said.
The team says they could begin with transplanting less crucial 3D-printed organs, which can be removed from someone without killing them.
The spleen, gall bladder, kidney, appendix, and a lung could be used in trials.
Israeli researchers now aim to make the 3D-printed hearts able to beat within a year. After that, they’ll evaluate the performance of lab-grown organs by transplanting them into animals.
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