Biological magic has been made thanks to a team of Israeli researchers and scientists, who digitally printed the first live heart. The team, led by Professor Tal Dvir from Tel Aviv University, created the heart using regenerative fatty tissue cells. The printing took about four hours and is the first time a heart has been printed successfully with blood vessels, cells, ventricles and chambers.
The revolutionary “tiny heart” is fit for the size of a rabbit. It’s expected to take about one month for the heart to mature into its full development and further tests are being done to determine if the heart will be able to pump and function properly. The team eventually hopes to test and determine if 3D engineering could be a viable option to support human health, and potentially revolutionize the organ transplant industry.
Based on findings from the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death. Over 20 million people worldwide suffer from cardiac issues, and for many critical cases, their only solution is a heart transplant. With a 3D printer, the hope is to be able to generate healthy human hearts for patients in need.
In a statement, Dvir mentioned that the likelihood of machine to patient delivery is still about a decade away. The team has only just begun to determine what is possible, yet perhaps one day, hospitals will have the access and ability to customize hearts to humans in need.