"Williams says he and his team of more than 20 have already bioengineered a coronary artery and printed the smallest blood vessels in the heart used in microcirculation. "These studies have reached the advanced preclinical stage showing printed blood vessels will reconnect with the recipient tissue creating new blood flow in the printed tissue."
The team has also worked on other methods of bioengineering tissue, including electrospinning for the creation of large blood vessel scaffolds that can then be joined with bioprinted microvessels.
But why print the parts, when you can print the whole in one go? We shouldn’t just be able to repair the heart using bioengineering, but replace it.
The Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is now developing bespoke 3D printers for the job with a team of engineers and vascular biologists — “if you do not understand the biology, you solve only half the problem” explains Williams. Though for now those printers are focusing on replicating the parts, the plan is to print the whole in one go in just three hours, with a further week needed for it to mature outside of the body. Certain parts will need to be printed and assembled beforehand, including the valves and the biggest blood vessels. “Final construction will then be achieved by bioprinting and strategic placement of the valves and big vessels,” says Williams, who asserts that they are “on schedule” to build the bioficial heart within the decade marker. The bioprinter he says will be capable of achieving all the forementioned work, is under construction now in Louisville.
Giving a simplified breakdown of the process, he explains: “a patient enters the operating room and tissue is removed (we think fat is the best source) and regenerative cells isolated. The cells are then mixed with solutions that contain extracellular matrix molecules and other factors and placed in the bioprinter. The bioprinter then prints the heart.” “
1BayArea_vs_GothamGirls_L1035324 (by nocklebeast)