Friday, November 22, 2013

Bioengineer: the heart is one of the easiest organs to bioprint, we'll do it in a decade

Bioengineer: the heart is one of the easiest organs to bioprint, we'll do it in a decade
A team of cardiovascular scientists has announced it will be able to 3D print a whole heart from the recipients' own cells within a decade.

"America put a man on the Moon in less than a decade. I said a full decade to provide some wiggle room," Stuart K Williams told Wired.co.uk.

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Williams is heading up the hugely ambitious project as executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at the University of Louisville. Throughout his prestigious career spanning four decades he has focused on researching surgical devices and bioengineering, and the idea for printing the heart whole from scratch was inspired by the work of one of the pioneers in both these fields -- Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh might be best known for flying solo across the Atlantic and for the Crime of the Century (when his infant son was kidnapped and murdered) but he also created a glass perfusion pump with Alexia Carrel that would keep the human heart alive outside the body, paving the way for heart surgery. The pair also discussed regenerative medicine in their book The Culture of Organs.

"For bioprinting it is the end of the beginning as bioprinted structures are now under intense study by biologists"

Stuart K Williams, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute

Some 70 plus years after the publication of that book, Williams' predictions shouldn't sound all that incredulous, but he admits it's been met with resistance. "That's why we are excited," he tells Wired.co.uk. "Funding is very limited as this is a new area. But as bioprinting successes occur the interest will increase and then funding -- so many breakthroughs have occurred in this way with a new untested idea that is moved forward with limited resources.

"For bioprinting it is the end of the beginning as bioprinted structures are now under intense study by biologists."

Read more: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-11/21/3d-printed-whole-heart



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