Gene harvesting has allowed for the possibility of growing replacement organs. However, it’s a lot easier said than done. A shortage of donors and genetic material mean we can’t just mass produce parts. But maybe we can 3D print them. Swiss researchers have recently proved 3D printed hearts can beat almost identically to real ones.
The silicone heart features left and right ventricles or chambers, just like a human heart, as well as an additional chamber that acts as the heart’s engine by driving the external pump.
It’s hoped this artificial version can eventually replace mechanical pumps, which are always at risk of failure or causing complications in the body.
With nearly 26 million people suffering from heart failure worldwide, this could be the answer to a pressing issue. The heart is made of silicone and can currently last 3,000 beats. While it’s not quite fit for replacement, it certainly is a promising start.
Meanwhile, earlier this year a team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute used spinach leaves to generate functioning heart tissue, complete with veins that could transport blood.
Looks like it’s going to be a favorable year for hearts.