September 20, 2019

Tel Aviv University Scientists Create First 3D Heart Made From Human Tissue

The first 3D-printed heart with live cells and blood vessels on display at a laboratory in Tel Aviv University, during a news conference on April 15, 2019. (Photo from JTA/Flash90)

Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers announced April 15 that a team of scientists were able to create the world’s first 3D printed heart by using a patient’s own cells and biological material.

According to the research paper published in Advanced Science, since it came from the patient’s own cells, it reduces the chance the transplant would fail.

“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” professor Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology told the Jerusalem Post. Dvir was the lead researcher for the study.

He worked alongside professor Assaf Shapira of TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences, and doctoral student Nadav Moor.

“This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process, these materials serve as the bio-inks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models,” Dvir explained.

The team said that currently, the 3D heart produced at TAU is for a rabbit, but creating a human heart could be produced using the same technology.

According to Dvir, the use of “native” patient-specific materials is crucial to successfully engineering tissues and organs.