Modern bioprinters are already able to successfully print textiles that can even be transferred to people. However, the pressure of full organs with a complex internal structure is still a rather complicated technique for mastering. However, medicine is not standing still and a recent development by Chicago scientists suggests that we may soon forget the lack of donor organs. After all, American experts were able to print a fully functional human heart. Right, so far in the small.
Who printed a human heart?
According to Engadget, Chicago-based biotechnology company BIOLIFE4D is under development. The company was founded in 2016 by immigrants from a variety of disciplines: from radioelectronics to medicine to reprogramming stem cells. All specialists had a single goal: to reform the donor organ system by producing artificial analogues. The first project of scientists was the creation of an artificial heart with a bioprinter. We regularly write about such developments in our message telegram channel.
And just yesterday, representatives of BIOLIFE4D said they were successful. Right, for the purposes of the experiment (since this is the company's first such experience) it was decided to print the heart in miniature. The little heart has the same structure and functionality as a big heart. The organ itself was printed using cardiomyocytes (cardiomyocytes) taken from a volunteer. These cells were reprogrammed so that they could be "propagated". This approach is useful for several reasons. Firstly, this will allow you to make the most accurate copies of cell structures and whole organs, and secondly, if you remove these cells from a hypothetical patient in need of a heart transplant and grow a new organ, the body will not reject a new heart after transplantation At the cellular level, this organ does not differ from the "native" one.
It is also worth noting that BIOLIFE4D was able to print individual components of the heart earlier this year, including valves, ventricles and blood vessels. In addition, they did not have to produce heart cells for it. It was sufficient to reprogram the patient's white blood cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which may differ in different cell types, including those needed for the experiment.
See also: The new technology lets you print organs in seconds.
Currently, the company strives to print a working human heart on a bio-printer. Of course, BIOLIFE4D is not the only company producing organs for 3D printing. For example, researchers from Tel Aviv University also printed a heart on a 3D printer earlier this year. And experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were able to print complex vascular networks necessary to maintain the function and functioning of artificial organs. So work in this area is not yet complete, and I hope that scientists will soon find a way to create full organs for transplantation and thereby save many lives.