3D Printing News

A major breakthrough in the world of 3D printing and medical science has just occurred in Chicago, as medical technology firm BIOLIFE4D has successfully printed a human cardiac patch.

Reported by 3ders.org, the patch made by the group was especially notable for including multiple different kinds of cells rather than just a single kind, making it much more adaptable and viable for use in patients with different types of heart failure. Additionally, the process was unexpectedly quick, only taking a few days to complete. The group’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Ravi Birla, echoes this, saying that being able to print a cardiac patch this quickly was simple “unheard of” up to this point.

In order to make the patch, BIOLIFE4D researchers took blood samples from those intended to receive the patch. A specialized process is used to convert the ordinary blood cells into unspecialized adult induced pluripotent stem cells, meaning cells with the potential to grow into any other type of cell in the human body.

Grown in a nutrient gel with the right care, these iPS change into the cells needed for transplant. After that, they’re loaded into a specialized 3D printer as a bio-ink, which safely prints the cardiac patch in the shape needed for transplant.

3D Printing Technology

This is merely the beginning of what this kind of technology can do, however. Bioprinting combined with iPS samples could revolutionize the way transplant surgeries are undertaken, as the stem cells’ adaptability opens the door for 3D printing entire organs from a patient’s own genetic material, drastically reducing the likelihood of rejection.

Steven Morris, BIOLIFE4D’s CEO, says he couldn’t be prouder of the results so far. He states that, from the beginning, the company’s goal has been to save lives, and that their most recent accomplishment puts them one step closer to reaching that goal.