3D Printed Heart: The State of the Art in 2020
3D bioprinting is the use of additive manufacturing techniques that combine cells, compounds, and biomaterials to create bioengineered tissues and structures. Unlike traditional FDM 3D printing, bioprinting uses something called bioink, a mixture of organic and inorganic materials, to make models.
As you can imagine, this technology is very important for the medical industry. Its primary use would be to save the lives of millions of patients who are in need of a replacement organ or transplant. As it stands, around 20 people die every day in the United States waiting for a replacement organ.
To make things worse, host rejection of the organ can require another replacement down the line. Being able to 3D print artificial organs using patients’ own cells can help eliminate both transplant rejection issues and organ deficit in the transplant sector.
To date, a complete 3D bioprinted heart has not yet been successfully made or transplanted. However, many companies and research groups have been inching their way towards a fully-functional 3D printed heart. Let’s jump into some of the most promising projects.