Favorite

Scientists Just 3D Printed A Miniature Human Heart

Remember when 3D printing became wildly popular overnight and everyone started 3D printing everything? Well 3D printing has just taken on a new dimension. Scientists have just 3D bioprinted a tiny human heart from stem cells. This is big, people. This is huge. 

Share
Tweet
Stumble
Pin It
Email
  • digital image of heart
    Pin It

    A Chicago-based biotech company just changed the future of medical technology when they released the news that they had bioprinted a miniature human heart from stem cells. Biolife4D  has been developing the technology to 3D print human cardiac tissue for some time, and this cherry-sized heart is the closest "anyone has gotten to producing a fully functional heart through 3D bioprinting," according to Biolife4D Chief Science Officer, Ravi Birla. 


  • digital image of 3D printer printing human heart
    Pin It

    So how exactly does a 3D bioprinting a heart work? First, blood cells from the patient are collected and converted into a type of stem cell called Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells. These cells are then converted to "bioink" and can be used by a 3D printer. By using cells from the patients own body, there is zero chance of the body rejecting the heart (which is common with transplanted organs). 





  • picture 3d printed human heart next to digital picture of heart inside human's body
    Pin It

    The miniature heart has the same structure as human hearts, with four internal chambers. Right now, it's partially functional, which won't help a human survive but can help with cardiotoxicity testing - or in other words, helping drug companies and medical researchers test what happens to a heart when it has problems. This heart is closer to human hearts than the animal hearts currently being tested on (and it's more ethical too). 



  • person's hand holding fake heart in front of 3D printer
    Pin It
    Via The Week

    The next task for the Biolife4D team is to improve the 3D bioprinting technology to be able to print a human sized heart. There are other challenges that come with this task, including improving the efficiency of the cell reprogramming process and working on the bioink to more closely replicate the human heart's natural extracellular matrix (ECM).

    Once these obstacles have been overcome, the team can begin to test the hearts inside animals, and eventually, humans. They are hoping that within a three year timeframe, their technology will allow them to print full-sized, functional human hearts. The future of medical technology has never looked more promising. 

  • -
  • Vote
  • -
Share
Tweet
Stumble
Pin It
Email

Next on Home

Astronomers Mix Cement In Space For First Time, Plan For Future Colonies