Until now, scientists in regenerative medicine – a field set at the junction of biology and technology – have been successful in printing only simple tissue without blood vessels.
"This is the first time anyone has successfully and successfully printed and printed a whole heart with rare cells, blood vessels, chambers and chambers" said professor Tal Dwir of the Faculty of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Materials and Science, Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotechnology and Saggel Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, who led the research for this study.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States. Heart transplantation is currently the only treatment available for patients with heart failure at the last stage. Given the great lack of cardiac donors, the need to develop new approaches to regenerating the diseased heart is urgent.
"This heart is made from human cells and biological materials specific to patients. In our process, these materials serve as bioengineers, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models" Professor Dvir says. "People managed to print the structure of the heart in the past, but not with cells or blood vessels. Our results show the potential of our approach to engineering personal tissues and the replacement of organs in the future."
The study was conducted jointly by prof. Dr, Dr. Asaf Shapira from the Faculty of Life Sciences at TAU and Nadav Moore, PhD student at the Laboratory of Prof.
"At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of the heart of the rabbit" explains prof. Dvir. "But the larger human hearts have the same technology."
For research, fat tissue biopsy was taken from patients. Then the cellular and a-cell tissue materials are separated. While cells were reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells, extracellular matrix (ECM), a three dimensional network of extracellular macromolecules such as collagen and glycoproteins were processed into a personalized hydrogel that served as an ink printing.
After mixing with the hydrogel, cells were effectively differentiated on cardiac or endothelial cells to produce specific patients, immunocompactable cardiac patches with blood vessels and, consequently, the whole heart.
According to prof. Dvd, the use of "native" patient-specific materials is essential for successful engineering tissue and organs.
"The biocompatibility of the constructed materials is critical to eliminating the risk of implant rejection, which endangers the success of such treatments" Professor Dvir says. "Ideally, biomaterials should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographic properties of the patient's own tissues. Here we can report simple access to obese, vascularized and perfusion cardiac tissues with 3D printed materials that fully match the immune, cell, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient ".
Researchers now plan to cultivate printed hearts in the laboratory and "teaching them to behave" like the hearts, says Professor Dwir. They then plan to transplant the 3D-printed heart into animal models.
"We need to further develop the printed heart," he concludes. "Cells need to form pumping ability, they can be agreed at the moment, but we have to work together. Our hope is that we will succeed and prove the effectiveness and usefulness of our method." "Maybe in ten years, there will be organic printers the best hospitals worldwide, and these procedures will be routinely implemented. "
Source and top view: American friends at the University of Tel Aviv