FRESH 3D Bioprinting a Full-Size Model of the Human Heart

Recent advances in embedded three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting have expanded the design space for fabricating geometrically complex tissue scaffolds using hydrogels with mechanical properties comparable to native tissues and organs in the human body. The advantage of approaches such as Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) printing is the ability to embed soft biomaterials in a thermoreversible support bath at sizes ranging from a few millimeters to centimeters. In this study, we were able to expand this printable size range by FRESH bioprinting a full-size model of an adult human heart from patient-derived magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data sets.

Adam Feinberg and his team have created the first full-size 3D bioprinted human heart model using their Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) technique. The model, created from MRI data using a specially built 3D printer, realistically mimics the elasticity of cardiac tissue and sutures.

Showcased in a recent video by American Chemical Society and created from MRI data using a specially built 3D printer, the model mimics the elasticity of cardiac tissue and sutures realistically. This milestone represents the culmination of two years of research, holding both immediate promise for surgeons and clinicians, as well as long term implications for the future of bioengineered organ research.

“We can now build a model that not only allows for visual planning, but allows for physical practice,” says Feinberg. “The surgeon can manipulate it and have it actually respond like real tissue, so that when they get into the operating site they’ve got an additional layer of realistic practice in that setting.”

This paper represents another important marker on the long path to bioengineering a functional human organ. Soft, biocompatible scaffolds like that created by Feinberg’s group may one day provide the structure onto which cells adhere and form an organ system, placing biomedicine one step closer to the ability to repair or replace full human organs.

“While major hurdles still exist in bioprinting a full-sized functional human heart, we are proud to help establish its foundational groundwork using the FRESH platform while showing immediate applications for realistic surgical simulation,” added Eman Mirdamadi, lead author on the publication.

Mirdamadi E, Tashman JW, Shiwarski DJ,  Palchesko RN, Feinberg AW
ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 2020, 6, 11, 6453–6459, 23.10.2020
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society
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