Futurism reports on Chicago-based biotech firm Biolife4D, which “claims to have 3D bioprinted a miniaturized human heart – chambers, ventricles, and all.” The team at Biolife4D aims to eventually “print full-scale human hearts, which can be transplanted into human patients, like changing out a watch battery.”
Biolife4D used their own patented bioink, which the company described as “similar in properties to gelatin, designed from the ground up to replicate actual human biomaterials. The heart was printed the same way a consumer-grade 3D printer prints small objects: layer by layer. To help with structural integrity during the printing process, Biolife4D printed an additional support scaffold encasing the heart.”
Once Biolife4D finished printing their miniaturized heart, the team “transferred it to a bioreactor, mimicking the conditions of the human body, helping the cells fuse themselves into tissue.” Of course, others have claimed to be the first ones to create the first 3D printed human heart, but what sets Biolife4D’s heart from the others is “its inner workings: it sports four major internal chambers and other structures, like valves, that are usually found inside the human heart.”
Of course, “the mini heart is far from ready for transplant. And rather than ensuring survival of a human patient, the mini heart could alternately become a viable tool for cardiotoxicity testing — the study of how drug treatments and medications could damage heart muscles. (Which it was initially designed for.)”
Biolife4D aims “to scale up production to eventually bioprint a full-size human heart” in the very near future.
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Biolife4D