Major Step Forward In Fabricating An Artificial Heart, Fit For A Human
The future of cardiac medicine involves tissue engineering. It includes the creation of a human heart for transplant.
Researchers at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created the first biohybrid model of beating cardiac cells aligned helically.
This model demonstrated that muscle alignment does, in fact, significantly increase the amount of blood the ventricle can pump with each contraction.
Scientists need to replicate the unique structures of the heart to build one. This replication primarily includes re-creating helical geometries. These cause the heart to beat in a twisting pattern.
It was a long-standing thought that this twisting motion was necessary for rapid blood pumping. However, establishing this has proven problematic. That’s partly because designing hearts with various geometries and alignments has proven difficult.
What Technology Made This Research Possible?
Focused rotary jet spinning – also known as – FRJS.
This process transforms polymers into fibers using centrifugal force. Thus helping enable this advancement.
The direction of the fibers when they get deposited on a collector is in control of a concentrated airstream. The fibers twist when the collector gets tilted and rotated, simulating the heart muscles’ helical form. Following the seeding of cardiomyocyte cells into the fibers, the ventricle begins to beat.
FRJS can quickly spin fibers at a single micron, or around fifty times smaller than an individual human hair. In contrast to 3D printing, it becomes slower as features increase. When developing a heart, this is critical.
Consider the extracellular matrix protein collagen, which is also one micron in diameter and is present in the heart.
To 3D print, the whole amount of collagen in the human heart at this resolution would take more than 100 years. FRJS can do it in a day.
The group also showed that the procedure has the potential to reach the size of a Minke whale heart and even a real human heart. The scaffold was covered in several thin layers of beating tissue after about a week. The cells kept aligning themselves according to the fibers below.
Also Read: How Does Depression Affect Your Heart
The research may prove to be a turning point in the development of heart transplant technology. It can move doctors closer to finishing the construction of a human heart. And this heart can be subsequently transplanted into a living patient.
You should know the team also investigated other uses for their FRJS technology. These include food packaging, along with fabrication. It is a crucial step forward in fabricating an artificial human heart, fit for a human.
In fact, the Harvard Office of Technology Development wants to commercialize options. They have also safeguarded the project’s intellectual property.
This initiative is going to be a game-changer in the medical industry and is something every heart patient must be aware of.
Do you agree? So, why not make it happen? Share this article with your friends and family and raise awareness for this major step forward in keeping your health hearty for long!