Modern bioprinters are already quite capablesuccessfully print fabrics that can even be transplanted to humans. But the printing of full-fledged organs with a complex internal structure is still a rather complicated technology for mastering. However, medicine does not stand still and a new development by scientists from Chicago suggests that quite possibly we will soon forget about the shortage of donor organs. After all, American experts were able to print a fully functional human heart. True, so far in miniature.
Who printed a human heart?
According to the publication Engadget, for the developmentstands Chicago biotechnology company BIOLIFE4D. The company was founded in 2016 by immigrants from various fields: from radio electronics to medicine and reprogramming of stem cells. All specialists came together with one single goal - to reform the system for obtaining donor organs by creating artificial analogues. The first project of scientists was the creation of an artificial heart using a bioprinter. We regularly write about such developments in our news telegram channel.
And just yesterday, representatives of BIOLIFE4Dstated that they succeeded. True, for the purposes of the experiment (since this is the first such experience of the company), it was decided to print the heart in miniature. The tiny heart has the same structure and functionality as a full-sized heart. The organ itself was printed using cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) taken from a volunteer. These cells were reprogrammed so that they could be “propagated”. This approach is convenient for a number of reasons. Firstly, this way you can create the most accurate copies of cellular structures and whole organs, and secondly, if you take these cells from a hypothetical patient who needs a heart transplant and grow a new organ for him, then after transplantation the body will not reject a new heart , since at the cellular level, this organ is no different from the "native" one.
It is also worth noting the fact that BIOLIFE4DEarlier this year, it was able to print individual components of the heart, including valves, ventricles, and blood vessels. Moreover, for this they did not need to produce heart cells. It was enough for the patient’s white blood cells to be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) that can differentiate into various types of cells, including those that were needed for the experiment.
See also: New technology allows you to print organs in literally seconds.
At the moment, the company aims toprint on a bioprinter a full-sized functioning human heart. Of course, BIOLIFE4D is not the only company that creates organs for 3D printing. For example, researchers from Tel Aviv University also printed a heart on a 3D printer earlier this year. And experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were able to print complex vascular networks, which are necessary to maintain the functioning and functioning of artificial organs. So work in this area is ongoing and I hope that very soon scientists will find a way to create full-fledged organs for transplantation and thereby save a lot of human lives.