Schematic illustration of a pre-vascularized stem cell patch having multiple stem cell-laden bioinks. (Credit: Jinah Jang, Reprinted from Biomaterials, Vol 112, Jinah Jang et al., 3D printed complex tissue construct using stem cell-laden decellularized extracellular matrix bioinks for cardiac repair, Pages 264-274, Copyright (2017), with permission from Elsevier)

Researchers are investigating stem cell-laden 3D-bioprinted cardiac patch technologies for use as a therapeutic and regenerative approach for ischemic cardiomyopathy in reversing scar formation and promoting myocardial regeneration.

Following a myocardial infarction, myocardial tissues and vasculatures are equally and severely damaged. Therefore, therapeutic or regenerative approaches should be planned to target both of them concurrently to achieve a successful cardiac repair, because the heart has very little ability to regenerate cardiomyocytes or heart cells by itself.

Employing a 3D-bioprinting strategy to geometrically control the spatial patterning and using dual stem cell therapy as its co-culture can play an important role in promoting and synergistically improving vascularization as well as cardiac function following myocardial infarction.

Currently applied patch-based stem cell therapies have shown advanced efficacy, rather than using single-component therapies, by providing a tissue-friendly environment during the time of host-graft integration.

As enthusiasm for cardiac regeneration charges and science continues to advance, 3D-bioprinted cardiac patches will soon become an increasingly feasible, viable, and functional option, unblocking the barriers to achieve cardiomyocytes properties. This will open new avenues for cardiac research, paving the way for new treatments for patients with cardiovascular disease.