Scientists at Chicago based biotech startup BIOLIFE4D this week announced a major breakthrough that is the ability to 3D print human cardiac tissue.
The scientific milestone was accomplished shortly after the opening of the company’s new research facility in Houston. The printing of a human cardiac patch involves multiple cells that make up the human heart. Bioprinted 3D cardiac patches can be used in patients with acute (serious) heart failure to restore lost myocardial contractility. The company now plans to turn its focus to other constructs like valves, blood vessels and a mini-heart as it involves 3D bioprinting a full human heart.
BIOLIFE4D’s Chief Science Officer Birla said:
“We are extremely excited to have achieved this milestone and to successfully demonstrate our ability to 3D print human cardiac tissue. When we began this process, we knew this would be a key step in validating our technology and scientific approach, so we are pleased to be able to have accomplished this so quickly.”
CEO of BIOLIFE4D, Moris said that earlier other companies have made similar patches, but none have included each of the cell types which make up the heart, along with the vascularization needed to allow the body to nourish the cells and remove their waste products. He further said, “You can think of it like this is the first time all of the proper ingredients were used to properly make the recipe.”
BIOLIFE4D’s innovative 3D bioprinting process provides the ability to reprogram a patient’s own (white) blood cells to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS cells). Induced pluripotent stem cells (also known as iPS cells or iPSCs) are a type of pluripotent stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells. Those iPS cells then differentiate into different types of cardiac cells needed to 3D bioprint not only a cardiac patch but ultimately, a human heart viable for transplant. This means BIOLIFE4D can successfully 3D bioprint using cardiac cells derived from their own iPS cells to create a living, viable constructs.