Tel Aviv University professor Tal Dvir has printed a 3D vascularized engineered heart, including cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers, using a patient’s own cell and biological materials.
A biopsy of fatty tissue was taken from patients. Cellular and a-cellular materials were separated. While the cells were reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells, the extracellular matrix were processed into a personalized hydrogel that served as printing “ink.” After being mixed with the hydrogel, the cells were efficiently differentiated to cardiac or endothelial cells to create patient-specific, immune-compatible cardiac patches with blood vessels and, subsequently, an entire heart.
Dvir believes that this “3D-printed thick, vascularized and perfusable cardiac tissues that completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient” reduces the risk of implant rejection.
The team now plans on culturing the printed hearts and “teaching them to behave” like hearts, then transplanting them in animal models.