Scientists have successfully 3D printed a miniature human heart.
Chicago-based biotech firm Biolife4D recently took a significant step toward its goal of producing a full-sized human heart viable for transplant.
The mini milestone, led by Chief Science Officer Ravi Birla, boasts the structure of a standard-sized heart—including four internal chambers.
It’s the closest anyone has gotten to producing a fully functioning heart through 3D bioprinting, according to the company.
“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,” Birla said in a statement.
“We believe we are at the forefront of whole-heart bioengineering, a field that has matured quickly over the last year,” he continued. “And well-positioned to continue our rapid scientific advancement.”
The complicated technique involves a proprietary bioink and unique bioprinting algorithm, as well as some other cardiovascular components my non-technical brain can’t quite wrap itself around.
What I can understand, though, is the significance of this breakthrough, which could one day play a huge role in treating heart disease and other cardiac impairments by improving the transplant process and eliminating the need for donor organs.
“We began this journey with an end goal of developing a technology that has the potential to save lives, and we are a step closer to that today,” CEO Steven Morris said. “We will continue our work until we are able to 3D bioprint full-sized hearts viable for transplant, and change the way heart disease is treated forever.”
“Today is an exciting day, but we continue forward earnestly toward the end goal of 3D bioprinting whole human hearts,” Birla added.
In April, researchers at Tel Aviv University unveiled the world’s first 3D print of a heart with human tissues and vessels.
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