Researchers Create 3D-Printed Heart Using Patient’s Own Cells

A team of scientists at Tel Aviv University, Israel, has 3D-printed the first vascularized engineered heart using a human patient’s own cells and biological materials.

Concept schematic: an omentum tissue is extracted from the patient and while the cells are separated from the matrix, the latter is processed into a personalized thermoresponsive hydrogel; the cells are reprogrammed to become pluripotent and are then differentiated to cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, followed by encapsulation within the hydrogel to generate the bioinks used for printing; the bioinks are then printed to engineer vascularized patches and complex cellularized structures; the resulting autologous engineered tissue can be transplanted back into the patient, to repair or replace injured/diseased organs with low risk of rejection. Image credit: Noor et al, doi: 10.1002/advs.201900344.

Concept schematic: an omentum tissue is extracted from the patient and while the cells are separated from the matrix, the latter is processed into a personalized thermoresponsive hydrogel; the cells are reprogrammed to become pluripotent and are then differentiated to cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, followed by encapsulation within the hydrogel to generate the bioinks used for printing; the bioinks are then printed to engineer vascularized patches and complex cellularized structures; the resulting autologous engineered tissue can be transplanted back into the patient, to repair or replace injured/diseased organs with low risk of rejection. Image credit: Noor et al, doi: 10.1002/advs.201900344.

“This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials,” said Tel Aviv University’s Professor Tal Dvir, senior author of the research.

“In our process these materials serve as the bioinks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models.

“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.”

“Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future.”

At this stage, the 3D-printed heart is small, the size of a rabbit’s heart.

“But larger human hearts require the same technology,” Professor Dvir said.

A 3D-printed, small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells. Image credit: Noor et al, doi: 10.1002/advs.201900344.

A 3D-printed, small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells. Image credit: Noor et al, doi: 10.1002/advs.201900344.

For the research, a biopsy of an omental tissue was taken from patients. The cellular and a-cellular materials of the tissue were then separated.

While the cells were reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells, the extracellular matrix, a 3D network of extracellular macromolecules such as collagen and glycoproteins, were processed into a personalized hydrogel that served as the 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.

“The biocompatibility of engineered materials is crucial to eliminating the risk of implant rejection, which jeopardizes the success of such treatments,” Professor Dvir said.

“Ideally, the biomaterial should possess the same biochemical, mechanical and topographical properties of the patient’s own tissues.”

“Here, we can report a simple approach to 3D-printed thick, vascularized and perfusable cardiac tissues that completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical and anatomical properties of the patient.”

 

“We are now planning on culturing the printed hearts in the lab and teaching them to behave like hearts,” he said.

“We then plan to transplant the 3D-printed heart in animal models.”

The findings appear in the journal Advanced Science.

_____

Nadav Noor et al. 3D Printing of Personalized Thick and Perfusable Cardiac Patches and Hearts. Advanced Science, published online April 15, 2019; doi: 10.1002/advs.201900344

About Skype

Check Also

Food Additive E171 May Impact Human Health

E171, a mixture of micro- and nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2), is commonly used …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *