Nadav Noor et al have successfully printed the first 3D vascularised engineered heart using a patient’s own cells and biological materials. The researchers utilized biopsy of fatty tissue from the patient for the study. The cells were then reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells that differentiated into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells. The extracellular matrix (ECM) which is a three-dimensional network of extracellular macromolecules such as collagen and glycoproteins were processed into personalized hydrogel that served as the printing ink. The two cell types were separately combined with the hydrogels to form the bio ink for parenchymal cardiac tissue and blood vessels. Blood vessel architecture was developed by mathematical modelling of oxygen transfer. The researchers demonstrated the ability to print functional, patient specific, immune-compatible cardiac patches with blood vessels forming the entire heart. The study thus revealed the first successful approach to 3D-print personalized, thick, vascularised and perfusable cardiac tissues which may be developed for drug screening and patient specific requirements in the future.
Source: Advanced Science 15 April 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.201900344