The dream of a 3D printed heart is getting closer to reality with the announcement from BIOLIFE4D about its success in building a mini human heart. The miniature heart is a big step since this the first time that an identical copy of a human heart showing potential for human transplantation.
The Chicago based company printed the heart using patient’s own cardiomyocytes or cardiac muscle cells using their trademarked bioink. The bioink is made of extracellular matrix compound replicating the properties of the human cells. The company formed in 2017 had earlier announced success in printing blood vessels and individual heart ventricles. This time around the company has managed to print a full copy of the heart including all its valves, using pluripotent stem cells from the patient’s own body.
BIOLIFE4D’s next step would be to create a full sized human heart pumping blood through the body. Before achieving the ultimate goal of human transplants, the company hopes to provide pharmaceutical companies with working human organs to test products in-vitro.
Many other companies and researchers are getting close to printing human organs. Earlier this year Tel Aviv based researchers were successful in a similar 3D printed mini heart, albeit a less complex.