The first 3D print of a complete heart was disclosed by Israeli scientists on Monday.
The Tel Aviv University researchers called it a “major medical breakthrough,” advancing options for transplants even though the 3D possibility is a long way off from being available mainstream.
“Researchers must now teach the printed hearts ‘to behave’ like real ones,” reported The Times of Israel. “The cells are currently able to contract, but do not yet have the ability to pump.”
Project leader Tal Dvir said this was “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers.”
“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,” he added.
The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science.
“Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,” said Dvir.