yohann305 2 months ago

Does anyone here know about this domain? Could you tell us if this is really a new achievement?

Also, it seems to me, 3d printing a heart is one of the most complex organs to replicate. Wouldn't we start by mastering 3d-printing of less complex (and still useful?) human parts such as valves, veins, or hair?

  • sonofgod 2 months ago

    So we have been handling the low-hanging fruit: bladders, skin, urethras and cartilage were being clinically trialled (ie. put into people) as of September 2018.


    The complexity of the heart is weird -- there's a lot of physical structure that's important, but at the same time I believe there's relatively little differentiation: it's mostly muscle; it's not a kidney or a lung. It's probably directly the opposite challenges to skin -- skin probably has more internal differences, but the physical layout are likely to just be laminar sheets.

    (I am not an expert on biology.)

  • Fjolsvith 2 months ago

    My brother died at age 21 back in '93, due to organ failure brought on by his heart which had been deformed since birth. He waited in Denver's Children's Hospital on the heart transplant list for several months before dying.

    A friend I knew had the top part of his heart replaced with a leatherized cadaver graft, after suffering from a massive infection under the pericardium. He died about 8 years after that.

    Veins and valves and hair issues have some avenues for treatment and don't necessarily result in death.

  • nycthbris 2 months ago

    3D printing any mildly complex tissue is a huge challenge. Let alone getting that printed tissue to function in vivo. Almost all press releases like this one will hype that things are just around the corner. The truth is that bioengineering any organ system is extraordinarily complex, but likely achievable some day in the future.

    I haven't read the paper behind the press release, but I'm skeptical of claims about 3D printed tissue. The primary obstacle in the heart is having a perfusable network of vasculature that is simultaneously mechanically & electrically functional. This requires intact extracellular matrix as well as functioning cardiomyocytes & supporting cell types. Maybe that's just my bias though (I'm an author on: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115....).

  • ironchief 2 months ago

    It is not. This is another example of "looks like, but doesn't work like". You often see people print noses, ears, whatever that have cells in them. That doesn't make it functional tissue.

    Source: I lead a tissue engineering project to print human organs for transplantation.

  • retSava 2 months ago

    > 3d printing a heart is one of the most complex organs to replicate

    That may make it a suitable target if you want to start out with a boom and getting some PR, while first "products" out the door would be less complex ones.

  • mburshteyn1 2 months ago

    Yes, please print me some hair

drchiu 2 months ago

I’d be curious to know how they ensured the printed heart’s electrical circuits communicated properly. A normal functioning heart has its own pacemaker, sending electrical signals in a coordinated manner. I suspect that this is what the researchers were alluding to when they said they’re trying to teach the heart to function. This might be the harder part of heart synthesis as it may require the promotion of specific cell to cell connections. Interesting development, which hopefully one day can fix a lot of medical pathologies.

  • Tharkun 2 months ago

    If they can print a structurally complete heart -- even one without a working SA node -- they would probably be able to print working replacement valves. That would be huge news. Animal replacement valves don't last forever. Nor do artificial ones. Having a working replacement grown/printed would be incredibly valuable for lots of people.

bane 2 months ago

This is exciting. I've been noticing lots of biotech coming out of Israel these days (etc. lab grown meat). Is there some regulatory permissiveness that's enabling these to be in Israel as opposed to the U.S. or elsewhere?

  • ghostly_s 2 months ago

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93United_States_r...

    The Israeli state at large is massively subsidized by the US govt., which is politically palatable under the auspices of "National Security", whilst subsidizing science and research in the homeland is increasingly decried as "socialism" and other such conservative scarewords. In recent years the amount of direct US aid to Israel (a nation with 3% the population of the US) has been half the budget of the NSF.