3D printers printed HEART
- April 10, 2014
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3D printers comes into market only a few years ago. However they are already started being used by the medical scientists. Now scientists are attempting to build a whole human heart using the versatile piece of kit. Their ultimate goal is to create a new heart for a patient using his own cells that could be transplanted.
Researchers have already used 3D printers to make splints, valves and even a human ear. But printing human heart and making it functional is a really difficult project. It is an ambitious project and it could be years - perhaps decades - before a 3D printed heart would be put in a person in a standard operating theatre.
So far, the University of Louisville in Kentucky has printed human heart valves and small veins with cells. They have also successfully tested the tiny blood vessels in mice and other small animals and believe scientists will be able to print parts and assemble an entire heart in three to five years. The finished product would be called the ‘bioficial heart' - a blend of the natural and artificial.
The biggest challenge of the project is to get the cells to work together as they do in a normal heart.The heart he envisaged would be built from cells taken from the patient's fat. But plenty of difficulties remain, including understanding how to keep manufactured tissue alive after it is printed.
Dr Anthony Atala, whose team at Wake Forest University in North Carolina is using 3D printers to attempt to make a human kidney, said: ‘With complex organs such as the kidney and heart, a major challenge is being able to provide the structure with enough oxygen to survive until it can integrate with the body'.
The 3D printing approach is not the only strategy researchers are investigating to build a heart out of a patient's own cells. Elsewhere, scientists are exploring the idea of putting the cells into a mould. Scientists have already created rodent hearts that beat in the laboratory and some simple body parts made using this method have already been implanted in people, including bladders and windpipes.
The 3D printer works in much the same way an inkjet printer does, with a needle that squirts material in a predetermined pattern. The cells would be purified in a machine and then printing would begin in sections, using a computer model to build the heart layer by layer.
It will use a mixture of a gel and living cells to gradually build the shape. The idea is that eventually, the cells would grow together to form the tissue.
The 3D printing is changing the medical world rapidly. May be in next few decade 3D printers will be printing clones of human being.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2601548/The-3D-printed-HEART-Scientists-soon-build-replacement-organs-using-patients-cells.html