Israeli scientists create world's first 3D-printed heart with human tissue

Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of heart with human tissue at the University of Tel Aviv

Researchers at Tel Aviv University printed the tiny vascularized heart in about three hours using cells and biological material from a patient.

"This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers", said Prof.

Prof. Tal Dvir presents a 3D printing heart made from human tissue in his laboratory in Tel Aviv University on April 15, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The staggering development prompted Israel's Foreign Ministry to react, citing it as yet another exceptional example of Israeli innovation.

BREAKING: Israeli scientists have created a real, live heart using human tissue in a revolutionary 3D printing process.

"The biocompatibility of engineered materials [was] crucial to eliminate the risks of implant rejection, which jeopardizes the success of such treatments", said Dr. Dvir.

This latest invention represents a major turning point for patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), as heart transplantation is the only definitive treatment for patients in the end-stages of the disease.

"People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels", he said. "Here, we can report a simple approach to 3D-print thick, vascularized and perfusable cardiac tissues that completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient".

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That means there's an urgent need to develop new ways to regenerate a diseased heart, according to the researchers.

"But larger human hearts require the same technology".

But CT scans can't provide images of the smaller blood vessels crisscrossing heart tissue-there, in order to make sure the entire patch receives enough oxygen, mathematical models were used to create a more-complete vasculature, calculated based on the laws of oxygen consumption and equations for optimal distribution.

Cells from a patient's omentum tissue are separated and processed into a personalized thermoresponsive hydrogel. "Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient's own tissues".

Once they have achieved that, the scientists plan to transplant the hearts into small animals, such as rabbits or rats.

The next step is culturing printed hearts in the lab and "teaching them to behave" like hearts, Dvir added.

The hearts can now contract, but still need to learn how to "behave like hearts", Dvir said, adding that he hopes to succeed and prove his method's efficacy and usefulness.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Tel Aviv University American Friends. With this achievement, the researchers at Tel Aviv University theorised that organ printers could be available at hospitals as early as within 10 years.

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