Medical researchers hope to use 3D printing technologies to create human hearts which can be realistically used for transplants and other life-saving situations. Being able to use a 3D-printed heart in a human test subject is still years away, but researchers are keen to push the boundaries and see if it's possible.
University of Louisville researchers have created heart valves and small veins, and have found success with tiny blood vessels that are being tested in lab mice. Researchers believe they will be able to create an entire human heart within five years, and the "bioficial heart" could be a major medical breakthrough.
"With complex organs such as the kidney and heart, a major challenge is being able to provide the structure with enough oxygen to survive until it can integrate with the body," noted Dr. Anthony Atala, as his team at Wake Forest University hopes to use 3D printing to create viable human kidneys.