The study opens the way for transplants without risk of rejection.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Jerusalem have presented a living heart made from human tissue with a 3D printer.
The study, published in the journal Advanced Science, opens the way for non-rejection transplants since the organ is made with the patient’s own cells.
“They have already been able to print the structure of a heart in 3D, but this is the first time anyone can design and print a whole heart, full of cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Monday, Professor Tal Dvir, who led the research, pointing out that the heart is complete, alive and throbbing.
“We performed a small biopsy of the patient’s adipose tissue, removed all the cells and separated them from collagen and other biomaterials, reprogrammed them into stem cells, and then differentiated them into cardiac cells and vessel cells blood, “he said.
The prototype of the heart is about three centimetres, the equivalent of the size of a rabbit’s or a small cherry’s organ.
At the moment, the cells can contract but the whole heart does not pump. “It’s still very basic,” Dvir said.
According to the researcher, it is necessary to develop it more, to obtain an organ that can be transplanted to a human being.
“The next step is to mature these cells and help them communicate with each other so that they contract together. You have to teach cells to behave properly,” he said.
“Then we will have another challenge, which is to be able to develop a larger heart with more cells. We have to figure out how to create enough cells to produce a human heart,” he added.
In the future, the team led by Dvir plans to transplant into the hearts of small animals such as rabbits and mice.
“Maybe in ten years, there will be organ presses in the best hospitals in the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,” Dvir concluded.