Summary: One of the startups is trying to develop bioprinted hearts using the stem cells from a patient’s own body with the help of a 3D bioprinter.
The startup called BioLife4D is looking forward to developing the bioprinted beating hearts using the patient’s own cells that would later work as a potential solution for the patients seeking the heart transplant.
As it was first stated in USAToday, the CEO, and the founding partner of BioLife4D, Steven Morris, stated that if the bioprinted heart is successful, the company expects to expand to other organs as well, that would include the pancreas and the kidneys.
Later, Morris has stated that we are literally at the precipice of the human history where all of these things have been possible, “Morris told the USAToday adding that we are really going to focus on the heart, to begin with,” later he added that “The main reason is the scope and the scale is so incredible”.
The process of bioprinting a human’s heart starts with taking the blood sample and of course an MRI scan of the patient’s heart. The technicians then help in converting them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These stem cells are later transformed into the heart precursor cells that are later fed into the bioprinter. Morris stated while creating the heart using a patient’s own cells it later decreases the chances that the patient would reject the organ.
Now, for creating a bio-ink these cells are converted into heart cells and are later mixed with nutrients and growth materials. Later, the resulting bio-ink is loaded into a 3D bioprinter. The 3D bio-printer is one of the most highly specialized printers that uses measurements from MRI for printing a replacement heart that uses measurements from one layer at a time. As these cells aren’t fused together yet so, a supportive scaffolding is printed with each of the layers for keeping them in the right place. As soon as this printing process is completed, technicians then move a printed heart into a bioreactor that mimics the conditions within the human body. The heart still stays in the bioreactor to mature and the cells later self-organize themselves into a group of living tissues and begin to beat in the unison. As soon as the heart becomes ready the technicians dissolve the scaffolding leaving behind a living and beating human heart. The heart is guided by the MRI and is printed with a patient’s cells, it would be a good fit and an exact genetic match.
Many organs and a little donors
Heart diseases are the leading cause of death for both the men and the women. Surpassing the annual death rate of all types of cancer combined. In the US alone, heart diseases are caused once in four deaths. Claiming over 600,000 lives every year. But it never has to this way as these heart transplants could result in the proportion of those deaths. Moreover, there are only 5000 heart transplants that occur worldwide each year, due to the lack of suitable organs for transplantation and the complications involved with them.
The bioprinted heart would go a very long way in accordance with solving the critical shortage of the donor’s hearts. As per the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a Federal Agency that helps in tracking those waitlists for organs, as of now, there have been more than 3,990 patients in the United States alone, that are on the waiting list to undergo a heart transplant surgery.
Are you looking to read more about these bioprinted hearts? Read here.