BIOLIFE4D has revealed its ability to 3D bioprint human cardiac tissue, specifically a human cardiac patch.
“We believe this is the first cell-based patch with conducting and contractile cells, along with preliminary vascularization,” said Steven Morris, CEO and President of BIOLIFE4D.
The cardiac patch is made of multiple cell types that the human heart is made of. These patches can be used in patients with acute heart failure to restore lost myocardial contractility. BIOLIFE4D achieved this milestone in merely a few days, much faster than anticipated, but there are still some hurdles they will need to overcome.
“While we have the basic understanding of the underlying science down there are two primary challenges we believe will be the biggest obstacles,” said Morris. “The first relates to the scaling up and working with billions of cells for a solid organ the size of a human heart, and the second is associated with the vascularization needed to maintain the viability of the heart.”
BIOLIFE4D’s 3D bioprinting provides the ability to reprogram a patient’s own (white) blood cells to iPS cells, and then to differentiate those iPS cells into different types of cardiac cells needed to 3D bioprint. Currently, they are developing their own custom bioprinter and will incorporate capabilities that are not currently available in any individual commercial bioprinter.
They hope by utilizing their current research and printing process they can focus their work on more “deliverables,” which include a heart valve and small diameter vascular grafts.
“We are also working on our ‘mini-heart,’ which we are very excited about because it could be used by pharmaceutical companies in drug research and testing,” said Morris. “This could be the holy grail of healthcare and has the potential to save millions of lives.”
Their main objective for a bioengineered human heart is for it to be viable for transplant and made from the patient’s own cells in order to prevent rejection.
Throughout it all, Morris said he is most excited this has finally come to fruition.
“This is no longer science fiction, it is now science fact,” said Morris. “As incredible as it may seem, we are on the precipice of unleashing this incredible technology, which ultimately holds the promise to so profoundly help humanity.”