A new technology that uses bioprinted patches to repair damaged heart tissue has been proven to be safe and cost-effective for patients.

The new technology creates personalized bio-inks made of a patient’s own stem cells. The bio-inks are then used to 3D print cardiac tissues to repair areas of dead tissue caused by heart attacks.

Because this technology enables patients to use their own stem cells to create the heart patches, not only can they potentially dramatically reduce the trauma and cost of a heart transplant, they also avoid hurdles such as a body rejecting donor tissues.

To determine treatment effects of hydrogel alone or with cells, MI mice were transplanted with: (i) AlgGel acellular patches, (ii) AlgGel with freely suspended cardiac cells, (iii) AlgGel with cardiac spheroids. Extrusion 3D bioprinting permits hydrogel patch generation, even preserving microtissue cardiac spheroids directly suspended in the bio-ink.

Further testing for long-term effects of this technology are under way before starting clinical trials. (Image credit: Leo Herson)

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