Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of deaths worldwide

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 17.9 million people die every year due to CVDs, 31% of global deaths. Often times, a heart transplant is the only option available for
patients in severe cases, but the limited number of donors is a constraint.

What if doctors can print out a new heart? Researchers from the University of Tel Aviv made an announcement that they successfully used a 3-D bio-printer and created a full rabbit-sized heart with human tissues and blood vessels. Though this 3D printed heart has some limitation especially related to thumping, still it is a big breakthrough which could be beneficial in future heart transplants.

Initially, a biopsy of tissue sampled from the patient. Later, the materials, such as molecules including collagen and glycoproteins, separated and processed into a hydrogel, which used as a printing “ink”. The hydrogel further mixed with stem cells, taken from the tissues to create a patient-specific heart with blood vessels. Such a heart would be less susceptible to organs rejection by the body.

The study published in the Journal of Advanced Science which will particularly important in the heart transplant. Until now, the researchers were only able to print simple tissues that lacked any blood vessels. A team that includes highly qualified researchers stated that they are planning for culture printed hearts and then transplanting them into animals body. Though these printed hearts still cannot use in humans heart transplant in the near future. It would further need many years for the perfection of this technology and solve problems of thumping in such an artificial heart.