SCIENTISTS in the US are attempting to build a human heart with a 3D printer.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a new heart for a patient with their own cells that could be transplanted.
It is an ambitious project to first make a heart, then get it to work in a patient, and it could be years – perhaps decades – before a 3D printed heart would be put in a person.
The technology, though, is not all that futuristic. Researchers have already used 3D printers to make splints, valves and even a human ear.
So far, the University of Louisville in Kentucky has printed human heart valves and small veins with cells and they can construct some other parts with other methods, said Stuart Williams, a cell biologist leading the project.
They have also successfully tested the tiny blood vessels in mice and other small animals and Professor Williams believes they can print parts and assemble an entire heart in three to five years.