Creating Organs From Scratch... 3D Printed Human Heart To Be A Reality Within A Decade

A team of cardiovascular scientists has announced it will be able to 3D print a whole heart from the recipients' own cells within a decade.

A team of cardiovascular scientists is saying that they will be able to print an entire human heart from a patient's own cells within 10 years

A team of experts has claimed they will be able to make whole hearts for use in transplant surgery using the recipients’ cells within a decade.

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Dr Stuart Williams claims he and his colleagues have already created a coronary artery and that they have 3D printed some of the small blood vessels in the heart.

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"America put a man on the Moon in less than a decade. I said a full decade to provide some wiggle room," Stuart K Williams told Wired.co.uk.

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Dr Stuart Williams (pictured) claims he and his colleagues have already created a coronary artery and that they have 3D printed some of the small blood vessels in the heart.

Image via dailymail.co.uk

He told the website: ‘These studies have reached the advanced preclinical stage showing printed blood vessels will reconnect with the recipient tissue creating new blood flow in the printed tissue.’

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This image shows an early example of a 3D printed heart

A team of experts has claimed they will be able to make whole 3D printed hearts for use in transplant surgery using the recipient's cells within a decade.

Image via dailymail.co.uk

The team at the University of Louisville’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute are developing special 3D printers for the creation of artificial hearts

They will initially be used to print individual component parts of a heart but the team believe they will eventually be able to print the whole organ in about three hours.

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Screenshot from youtube.com @univoflouisville

Image via rt.com

This will include printing heart muscle, blood vessels, valves and electrical tissue.
They say that once the heart is printed, it will need about a week to ‘mature’ before it is given to the recipient.

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According to Dr Williams, the final construction will be achieved by bioprinting and strategic placement of the valves and big vessels

He believes some of the parts will need to be assembled after they have been printed, including some of the blood vessels and the valves – he says the technology does not have the capacity to create a ready-assembled heart.

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The scientists will initially print individual component parts of a heart but they believe they will eventually be able to print the whole organ in about three hours.

Image via dailymail.co.uk

In the past, scientists who have created 3D printed organs – such as part of a liver - have struggled to keep them alive.
Dr Williams hopes to avoid this problem with the 3D printed heart by encouraging the recipient's cells to knit together naturally with the printed vessels.

wired.co.uk

He says the 3D printed blood vessels should be able to connect with the patient's vessels allowing the blood to flow through the heart and keeping it alive.
The team hope machines that can 3D print hearts will eventually be as common place in hospitals as X-ray machines.

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Dr Williams and his team have already successfully printed parts of mice hearts and a team at the University of Kentucky have used the technology to grow new bones for rabbits.

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