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Watch a Miniature 3-D Printed Heart Beat
April 23, 2015
2 Min Read
Scientists at Wake Forest have created individual cardiac cells from stem cells that can be seen beating in a video.
Apparently not content with merely printing skin, ears, bone, and muscles for use in lab animals, researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are working on creating networks of miniature 3-D printed organs to create what they term a "Body on a Chip." The group released the recent video to commemorate the progress they had made since receiving $24 million in funding in 2013.
The researchers hope that they can ultimately produce networks of miniature human organs that can accurately predict the efficacy of drugs in the testing phase as well as their side effects. Animal testing has long been used for this purpose, yet many drugs that fare well in such tests fail in humans. Yet the benefits of studying cells in petri dishes is limited because of the lack of information related to how the cells function as part of an organism. Creating a functional miniature heart that acts as part of a "Body on a Chip" could be especially useful for pharmaceutical testing because a circulatory system is needed to test a drug for side effects.
The researchers plan on linking organoids in a network of microfluid channels and sensors that provides feedback on the function of individual organoids and the overall organoid system.
Like the University of Louisville and others, the group ultimately hopes to be able to produce fully functioning complex organs.
The cardiac organoid, shown as the three cells on the right in the video below, were grouped into a loose structure and placed into a cell culture. On the lower left is a conjoined liver cell and cardiac cell.
Lean more about 3-D printing at BIOMEDevice Boston, May 6-7, 2015.
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