Carnegie Mellon University’s 3D bioprinted heart provides surgeons with new tools

Scientists have created “the first full-size 3D bioprinted human heart model” that could change the way surgeons practice and prepare patients,media CNET reported.  The innovation comes from a research team led by Adam Feinberg, a biomedical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University. The model was created using innovative free-form reversible embedded suspension hydrogel (Fresh) 3D printing technology.

Carnegie Mellon University's 3D bioprinted heart provides surgeons with new tools

“The new 3D printing uses needles to inject bio-ink into the bath of a soft water gel, supporting objects when printing,” Carnegie Mellon University said in a statement Wednesday. The researchers then heated the hydrogel, leaving a model.

Carnegie Mellon University's 3D bioprinted heart provides surgeons with new tools

The team published a paper on the model in the JOURNAL ACS Biomass Science and Engineering. The American Chemical Society has released a video showing how the heart and Fresh process work.

The new heart improves previous efforts to print models in 3D, thanks to a flexible but robust seaweed salt material that makes it more realistic. Seaweed acid is extracted from seaweed. “For surgeons, this can create models that can be cut, stitched, and operated in a way similar to a real heart,” the university researchers said.

Carnegie Mellon University's 3D bioprinted heart provides surgeons with new tools

We’ve seen some significant advances in 3D printing in the medical field, including tiny hearts made from real human tissue and 3D-printed lung airbags revealed in 2019. The Fresh model is a step towards the larger dream of printing alternative organs.

Carnegie Mellon University's 3D bioprinted heart provides surgeons with new tools

“While there are still significant barriers to bioprinting full-size functional human hearts,” said study lead author Eman Mirdamadi, “we are proud to be able to use the Fresh platform to help build its foundational work while demonstrating the direct application of real-world surgical simulations.” “