Chicago biotechnology company BIOLIFE4D was able to print a miniature human heart. It has the same structure as a full-sized heart - the company believes that they have taken an important step to create an artificial organ suitable for transplantation.
The heart was printed using heart muscle cells obtained from a patient and a bioplastics made from extracellular matrix compounds that reproduces the properties of the heart of mammals.
Earlier this year, the company was able to bioprint individual components of the heart, including valves, ventricles, and blood vessels.
In the future, the company hopes to print a fully functioning human heart. Theoretically, this technology can reduce the need or eliminate the need for donor organs.
BIOLIFE4D is not the only company that prints organs. For example, researchers from Tel Aviv University printed a heart earlier this year. MIT bioengineers were able to print the complex vascular networks needed to maintain the functioning of artificial organs.