Jun 27, 2018 | By Thomas

BIOLIFE4D, a Chicago-based medical tech firm specializing in 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering, announced it has successfully demonstrated its ability to 3D bioprint human cardiac tissue – specifically, a human cardiac patch.

The successfully 3D printed cardiac patch contains multiple cell types of which the human heart is made of, rather than just cardiomyocytes, and includes preliminary vascularization. Bioprinted 3D cardiac patches can be used in patients with acute heart failure to restore lost myocardial contractility.

The whole process was completed in just a few days and much sooner than anticipated. BIOLIFE4D will now turn its focus to other constructs like valves, blood vessels and a mini-heart as it seeks to progress to 3D bioprinting a full human heart.

"The speed at which we bioprinted 3D human cardiac patches, within days, is unheard of within the scientific community," said Dr. Ravi Birla, Chief Science Officer (CSO) at BIOLIFE4D. "These efforts clearly demonstrate our ability to bioprint human tissue and provide a clear and rapid pathway towards bioprinting human hearts.”

The BIOLIFE4D’s 3D bioprinting process begins with blood sample collection from the patient. Because every cell in a human body has the same number of genes and the same DNA, every cell has the potential to be converted to essentially any other cell. In the second step of the process, the blood cells from the sample is converted to unspecialized adult induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) – cells that can ultimately be changed back into specialized cells of our choice.

Through a process called differentiation, iPS cells would be converted to almost any type of specialized cell in the human body, in this case cardiomyocytes (heart cells). These cells would then be combined with nutrients and other necessary factors in a liquid environment (hydrogel) to keep the cells alive and viable throughout the process. This bio-ink would then be loaded into a bioprinter, a highly specialized 3D printer designed to protect the viable living cells during the printing process.

BIOLIFE4D’s 3D bioprinting process provides the ability to reprogram a patient’s own (white) blood cells to iPS cells, and then to differentiate those iPS cells into different types of cardiac cells needed to 3D bioprint not only a cardiac patch but ultimately, a human heart viable for transplant.

This ability is crucial as BIOLIFE4D seeks to disrupt how heart disease and other cardiac impairments are treated, particularly by improving the transplant process by eliminating the need for donor organs.

All images credit: BIOLIFE4D

“This is a tremendous time for BIOLIFE4D and we could not be prouder to have accomplished this scientific landmark in such a short period of time,” said Steven Morris, CEO, BIOLIFE4D. “From the beginning, our mission has been to utilize our technology to save lives. Today, we believe we are one step closer to ultimately achieving that goal.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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