Image: Personalized ‘bio-inks’ are used to 3D-print cardiac tissues to repair areas of dead tissue caused by heart attacks (Photo courtesy of UTS)
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death globally. One of the associated complications of heart disease is heart failure, in which inadequate blood supply to an affected region causes the death of heart tissue. This often necessitates life-long medication, and end-stage heart failure patients may subsequently be enrolled on a waiting list for a heart transplant. Now, researchers have demonstrated the potential of bio-engineered heart tissues in promoting the safe and effective recovery of patients recovering from damage due to an extensive heart attack.
The cutting-edge technology developed by researchers from The University of Technology Sydney (UTS, Sydney, Australia) fabricates personalized ‘bio-inks’ utilizing stem cells obtained from a patient’s body. These “bio-inks” are subsequently utilized for 3D-printing cardiac tissues to repair the regions affected by dead tissues resulting from a heart attack. Further testing for the long-term effects of this technology is underway before it enters clinical trials.
“Our study demonstrated that bio-engineered patches were the best and most robust treatment of heart failure – patches generated with other approaches either did not induce any improvement or the improvement was inconsistent,” said Dr. Carmine Gentile, head of the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group at UTS. “Our bio-engineered patches promise to be safer, more consistent, and cost-effective for the patient. Because this technology will enable patients to use their own stem cells to create the heart ‘patches’, not only can they potentially dramatically reduce the trauma and cost of a heart transplant, but also avoid hurdles such as a body rejecting donor tissues.”
The University of Technology Sydney