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3D-Printed Patch Mends Hearts

Photonics.com
Jun 2017
MINNEAPOLIS, June 6, 2017 — A new 3D-laser-printed patch has been developed that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Alabama-Birmingham used laser-based 3D bioprinting techniques to incorporate stem cells derived from adult human heart cells on a matrix that began to grow and beat synchronously in a dish in the lab.

Minnesota laser based 3D patch can help mend a broken heart.
A team of biomedical engineering researchers has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. Two of the researchers involved are biomedical engineering associate professor Brenda Ogle (right) and Ph.D. student Molly Kupfer. Courtesy of Patrick O'Leary, University of Minnesota.

In their study, they placed the cell patch on a mouse that had a simulated heart attack. Over a period of four weeks they saw a significant increase in functionality. The scientists credit the improvement to the patch being made from cells and structural proteins native to the heart, as it quickly absorbed into the body and became part of the heart.

"This is a significant step forward in treating the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.," said Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. "We feel that we could scale this up to repair hearts of larger animals and possibly even humans within the next several years."

The patch is modeled after a digital 3D scan of the structural proteins of native heart tissue. It is then made into a physical structure by 3D printing with proteins native to the heart and further integrating cardiac cell types derived from stem cells.

"We were quite surprised by how well it worked, given the complexity of the heart," Ogle said. "We were encouraged to see that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and showed a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved across the patch."

The researchers will soon begin working on a larger patch and testing it on a pig heart, which is similar to a human heart.

The research study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research (doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.310277).

University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madisonand University of Alabama-BirminghamResearch & Technologyeducation3d printingbiophotonicslasersmedicineBrenda OgleAmerican Heart Associationbioprinting

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