A NY woman previously diagnosed with a rare bone cancer has received a 3D-printed sternum and rib cage produced by the CSIRO and Anatomics.
Development of replacement organs is not something new, with the first human to receive an artificial heart occurring in 2014. The team has successfully printed a 3d model heart using cell matter from a human source. Eventually, the researchers hope their work will help in reducing the need for transplant waiting lists and organ rejections because the print would be fully personalized and made from the patient's own cells.
Up until now, scientists in regenerative medicine have not been able to "print" a heart with blood vessels, only simple tissues.
The major breakthrough occurred at Tel Aviv University, in what's been described as the first time "anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers".
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A 3D printer prints what Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University say is the world's first 3D-printed, vascularised engineered heart, during a demonstration at a laboratory in the university, Tel Aviv, Israel April 15, 2019. He worked with Prof.
Research for the study was conducted jointly by Prof Dvir, Dr Assaf Shapira of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and Nadav Moor, a doctoral student in Prof Dvir's lab.
The impact: Heart disease causes one in four deaths in the United States (about 610,000 people a year), and there's a shortage of heart donors for transplants, so 3D-printed hearts could help solve a major issue. In 2013, heart disease accounted for about 16% of the total number of deaths in Israel, according to the Health Ministry.
As of now, heart transplantation is the only treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure, the study said. The cells used in the printing were sourced from a single human donor, according to CBS. In Israel and the USA, many patients die while on the waiting list, hoping for a chance at survival. It seems that 3D printed hearts could be the forthcoming solution. Personalized organs would be more easily accepted by the body.
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Researchers took fatty tissue from a patient, then separated it into cellular and non-cellular components. These tissue samples were experimentally reprogrammed to become "pluripotent" or de-identified stem cells.
A 3D network of extracellular macromolecules including collagen and glycoproteins was processed into a hydrogel that served as the printing "ink".
But while the current 3D print was a primitive one and only the size of a rabbit's heart, "larger human hearts require the same technology", said Dvir.
Scientists have previously built synthetic hearts and bio-engineered tissues using a patient's cells.
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