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Biology, Strange, Survival, Technology

3D Printing Human Hearts with Stem Cells

With thousands waiting for replacement hearts around the world, the quest is on for created replacements made of patient stem cells or rejuvenated heart tissue to avoid problems with tissue rejection as often occurs with donor hearts. Israeli scientists have moved science one step closer in the quest.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have printed the world’s first 3-D heart complete with blood vessels using personalized “ink” made of collagen, a protein.


Scientists in Israel unveil a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels calling it a first and “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.

Via YouTube

Now they just need to make it actual size and get it beating, among other hurdles.
Others have been working on this as well. Here’s a little heart made from stem cells that researchers in California got beating in 2015. Published June 14, 2015:

By recreating the physical forces that developing cells experience, stem cells have been coaxed into forming microscopic beating hearts

Via YouTube

Researchers prompted stem cells to develop into heart muscle and connective tissue, and then organize into tiny chambers and “beat.” In a video of the achievement, the heart muscle cells (indicated by red at the center) are beating while connective tissue (green ring) secures the miniheart to the dish where it grew. Kevin Healy, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of bioengineering and co-senior author of the study, said in a statement. “This technology could help us quickly screen for drugs likely to generate cardiac birth defects, and guide decisions about which drugs are dangerous during pregnancy.” The research was published March 2015 in the journal Nature Communications

Via LiveSci

On March 16, 2016, there was this provocative headline: Scientists Grow Full-Sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells
Excerpt reading the article, they are not ready with anything that could be used for a transplant yet.

… a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has gotten one step closer, using adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue, according to a study published recently in the journal Circulation Research.

… While this isn’t the first time heart tissue has been grown in the lab, it’s the closest researchers have come to their end goal: Growing an entire working human heart.

After those two weeks, the hearts contained well-structured tissue that looked similar to immature hearts; when the researchers gave the hearts a shock of electricity, they started beating.

But the researchers admit that they’re not quite ready …

They are next planning to improve their yield of pluripotent stem cells (a whole heart would take tens of billions, one researcher said in a press release), find a way to help the cells mature more quickly, and perfecting the body-like conditions in which the heart develops. In the end, the researchers hope that they can create individualized hearts for their patients so that transplant rejection will no longer be a likely side effect.

Via PopSci

Teams all over the globe are getting closer. Who will be the first person to have a new heart made of their own cells? Stay tuned.


About Xeno

E pluribus unum.


One thought on “3D Printing Human Hearts with Stem Cells

  1. News like these remind me and scare me how far we’ve come in terms or medicine and technology

    Posted by ThatAmbitiousIntrovert | 16 Apr 2019, 7:20 am

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