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Here is The First 3D Printed Tiny Human Heart With Real Tissues & Vessels

A lab in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels on Monday, calling it a first and a "major medical breakthrough" that advances possibilities for transplants.

The heart, about the size of a rabbit's, marked "the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers," said Tel Aviv University's Tal Dvir, who led the project.

Although the organ is only the size of a cherry and cannot pump blood, experts said its creation is a 'major medical breakthrough'.

The heart is believed to be the first ever to have been printed with cells, blood vessels and chambers.

The hearts will need more work before they can pump blood, the scientists hope to begin trials using them within a year.

People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels, he said.

But the scientists said many challenges remain before fully working 3D printed hearts will be available for transplant into patients.

Journalists were shown a 3D print of a heart about the size of a cherry at Tel Aviv University on Monday as the researchers announced their findings, published in the journal Advanced Science.

Researchers must now teach the printed hearts "to behave" like real ones. Then they plan to transplant them into animal models, said Dvir.

In theory, the technique may one day be able to produce someone a new heart using recycled cells from their own body – reducing the risk of it being rejected.

'Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,' said Professor Dvir.

But he accepts it may be safer to start transplants with an organ less crucial than a heart.

The spleen, appendix, gall bladder and kidney – and even a lung – can be removed without killing the patient, for example, so could be candidates for trials.

The next stages of the Israeli team's research will be trying to teach the 3D-printed hearts to beat like living ones.

And then they will attempt to transplant the lab-grown organs into animals, which they hope to be able to do within a year, Professor Dvir said.
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