The future is here, and it's alive and lose. Scientists at Tel Aviv University announced the first 3-D heart of the world that is complete with blood vessels using personalized "ink" made of collagen, a protein that supports cell structures, and other biological molecule.
The breakthrough was reported on Monday by leading scientists Prof. Tal Dvir, Dr. Assaf Shapira of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and Nadav Noor, his doctoral student, in Advanced Science.
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True, the heart is the size of the rabbit, and it does not work yet. Nevertheless, Dvir points out that the "printing" of the human heart is related to the same technology.
"We need to expand our printed heart," he said. "Cells need to develop a pumping capability; they can be current contracts, but we need them to work together. Our hope is that we will succeed and prove our method of effectiveness and usefulness. "
In other words, the next stage is to cultivate the rat's heart in the lab, grow and grow it up, and teach the artificial – but biological – organ to "act" like a heart. The stage after this is the transfer of 3-D print hearts to animals, to test their functionality.
It may take several years before this technology can make organs for an effective transplant, if it ever has. Nevertheless, Tel Aviv's scientists have met today a great milestone in transplant science: The tissues are printed before using three-dimensional printing technology, but lacking vascularization – blood vessels – important in usability.
The printing of the tissue is finished before, but the simple tissues without blood vessels, says the university. "This is the first time that anyone has been successfully engineered and printed a whole heart complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers," says Dvir.
For example, to date, scientists have been able to print cartilage and aortal valves, for example, but the challenge is to create tissues complete with vascularization: blood vessels, including capillaries, Without the organs can not survive,
Tel Aviv scientists began with fatty tissues derived from humans and isolated cellular and non-cellular components. They then reprogrammed the cells to return to those without stem cell selection, which may be nudged into cardiac cells or endothelial cells.
Non-cellular materials, including many proteins, are processed into a "personalized hydrogel" that serves as "ink printing," explained Dvir.
If technology is still in its infancy, printed organs are used for training purposes in medical schools, and for doctors to plan complex operations.
Dvir expects that technology can be mainstream for a decade or more, organ and tissue infections for people using their own tissues as base.
The organ printing involves three major stages. The first, pre-print stage, involves scanning the organ, for example MRI. The two stages print organ, layer by layer, and the third stage involves "ripeness" of the printed organ in an appropriate environment.
The heart is considered especially difficult to labor because of its extremely complex and the pressures it should take.
The key to the whole point is that using the patient's own molecules significantly reduces the possibility of organ rejection, Dvir said. Her greatest hope is that organ printing will provide an organ donation that is not used.