Researchers at the universities of Minnesota (UMN) and Alabama three-dimensionally (3D) printed a functioning human heart pump in a laboratory.
After failed attempts to print actual heart muscle cells, the team optimized specialized ink constituted from extracellular matrix proteins, blended it with human stem cells, and used these to print the chambered structure.
The stem cells were initially expanded to high cell densities in the structure, then differentiated into heart muscle cells.
The researchers successfully realized high cell density within less than a month to allow the cells to beat together, as in a human heart.
UMN's Brenda Ogle said, "We now have a model to track and trace what is happening at the cell and molecular level in pump structure that begins to approximate the human heart."
From University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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