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3D Printed Human Hearts

Dr Farzaneh Hafezi
25 April 2019

Hearts (Published in Advanced Science 2019)

This novel research on 3D printed personalised heart shows, for the first time, the use of fully personalised, nonsupplemented materials as bioinks for 3D printing. The research has been lead by Professor Tal Dvir (School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel (The research is published in the Advanced Science).

CT images of the human heart were used to identify the 3D anatomical structure of major blood vessels in the left ventricle, and by use of computer-aided design (CAD) software researchers designed the blood vessel geometry to be able to fit a 3D model of the patient’s left ventricle. As CT images cannot clearly show the small blood vessels, smaller blood vessels were added to the basic vasculature design according to a mathematical model and then fully personalised. Nonsupplemented material as a bioink has been used for 3D printing of the CAD model.

In this research a fatty tissue is extracted from the patient and cellular material is processed to form diverse personalised bioinks. Blood vessel architecture is further improved by mathematical modelling of oxygen transfer.

This researches shows the potential of this approach for engineering personalised tissue and organ replacements in the future. Professor Dvir claims that true scale human hearts could be produced using the same techniques. However, “it requires an efficient expansion of induced pluripotent stem cells to obtain the high cell number required for engineering a large, functioning organ. Additionally, new bioengineering approaches are needed to provide long-term cultivation of the organs and efficient mass transfer, while supplying biochemical and physical cues for maturation”.

Read more here.


Photo credit: Advanced Science 2019