Heart problems are one of modern society’s most common problems. Studies have indicated that it is the most common cause of death among men. So, it’s only natural that 3D printing companies (particularly in bioprinting) would want to tackle it. While a full 3D printed heart is still a dream, BioLIFE4D have developed a patch that aids in heart tissue recovery.
Last time we covered BioLIFE4D, we talked about how they were raising money for a transplant system. It appears this program is the first fruit of that same labour. The company has created a small medical device that contains live cells that they extruded into the shape of a patch. Potentially, when added to a cardiac muscle, it can aid in deterring acute heart failure and to restore lost myocardial contractility.
The patch contains multiple cell types crucial to the cardiovascular system and particularly to the heart. The company says that they can print a patch in just a few days. This is especially good considering how they can tailor bioinks for specific patients. It is not clear whether the company has conducted trials on human or animal test subjects.
Heart Tissue Bioprinting
“We are extremely excited to have achieved this milestone and to successfully demonstrate our ability to 3D print human cardiac tissue. When we began this process, we knew this would be a key step in validating our technology and scientific approach, so we are pleased to be able to have accomplished this so quickly,” said Chief Science Officer Dr. Ravi Birla. “We have always believed that our scientific approach, as well as the tremendous team we have assembled, positioned us for rapid scientific accomplishment. The speed at which we bioprinted 3D human cardiac patches, within days, is unheard of within the scientific community. These efforts clearly demonstrate our ability to bioprint human tissue and provide a clear and rapid pathway towards bioprinting human hearts.”
Previously, In April 2017, scientists in the University of Minnesota achieved a similar feat. It’s possible that BioLIFE 4D are using a similar laser-based printing system. They demonstrated the viability of transplanted and printed heart tissue within an animal model. Much like that particular version, human trials will take quite some time. Still, this is a big step forward.