First healthy 3-D printed hearth will begin to beat in 2023
It sounds crazy to 3D print a livng human heart, but Stuart Williams, executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in Louisville, Ky, doesn`t think so. His ambitious project is to do it in only ten years. Cross your fingers and wish him success (and observe the capsule to stay in touch).
First healthy 3-D printed hearth will begin to beat in 2023
An ambitious 3D-printed heart project aims to make a natural organ replacement for patients possible within a decade. But the researcher heading the effort also believes 3D-printing technology must harness the self-organizing power of biology to get the job done.
The idea of a 3D-printed heart grown from a patient's own fat stem cells comes from Stuart Williams, executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in Louisville, Ky. His lab has already begun developing the next generation of custom-built 3-D printers aimed at printing out a complete heart with all its parts -- heart muscle, blood vessels, heart valves and electrical tissue.
"We can print individual components of the heart, but we're building next-generation printers to build the heart from the bottom up," Williams said.
The heart represents one of the most ambitious goals for researchers working to create 3D-printed organs within the field of regenerative medicine. The ability of 3-D printing to build human tissue by laying down living cells layer by layer has already allowed researchers to create small chunks of organs such as livers and kidneys -- often by using stem cells extracted from fat or bone marrow as the source material. [7 Cool Uses of 3-D Printing in Medicine]
Williams and the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute have started out by first using 3-D printing to create individual parts of what they have deemed the "bioficial" heart. That piecemeal approach could eventually allow researchers to print and piece together a fully functional heart within a week.
"I took a step back and looked at my colleagues, and said, 'Why don’t we build it like a large airplane?'" Williams told LiveScience. "Separate the organ into separate components, figure out the best way to make the components, and then put them together."
But building full-size organs also requires researchers to print human tissue in a way that includes the intricate networks of tiny blood vessels that keep the organs healthy. Williams envisions 3-D printing as an ideal way to make smaller blood vessels — he and his colleagues have already built large blood vessels for transplant use in surgeries using methods other than 3-D printing.
Still, 3-D printers can only do so much bioengineering when working at the tiniest scales. The best printers may only print structures with the size of millimeters, whereas the smallest blood vessels can have a width of just a few microns, Williams explained, where 1 millimeter is equal to 1,000 microns.
That's why 3-D printing may only get researchers partway toward the goal of creating a complete heart. Instead, researchers will have to rely upon the natural self-organizing tendency of cells to knit together blood vessels and eventually connect everything within a 3D-printed organ — a process that could take place within 24 hours.
"We will be printing things in the order of tens of microns or more like hundreds of microns, and then cells will undergo their biological developmental response in order to self-organize correctly," Williams said.
Most researchers don't expect full-size, 3D-printed organs to become reality anytime within the next 10 or even 15 years, but the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute continues to forge ahead with its goal of building a 3D-printed heart within a decade. Williams expects the next generation of "bioprinters" to begin rolling out in December.
from here on out i was put through shit no kid ever needed to be put through. abuse no seven year old needed to experience. i developed very unsafe coping skills. unhealthy mechanisms i used to escape. it was much easier to escape than to be present.
from here on out
april 17th 2023
it became too much. i couldnt imagine my life past thirteen.
june 29th 2023
i discharged from my program. i was better. i was happy.
september 12th 2023
i overdosed. fuck.
september 18th 2023
four winds inpatient.
fuck that shit. never going back.
september 28th 2023
newport academy. again.
november 14th 2023
i got better. this time, for real.
november 28th 2023 is when im writing this.
this is obviously put into very simple words. there are many things that happened between those times. i fell in love. i got heartbroken. i broke the no contact rule. i relapsed many, many times. i thought of suicide almost every single day. but im alright now. i can see a future for myself. and i want to see what i will do in that future. im only thirteen, i have a lot of life left to live. this is a letter to all the kids like me out there. you are enough. your body is beautiful. you are changing every second of the day. you are growing. you arent a bad person, youre just a kid. there are so many people that love you. you didnt deserve any of this, but theres no turning back time. you will get better, and you can do it. i know its hard to get out of the comfort of depression. its much easier to get worse than to get better. but focus on the present. focus on getting through today. focus of getting through today without drinking, or smoking, or self harming. focus on your breath, the rise and fall of your chest. focus on the world. you deserve so much. you deserve to live to see the world, to experience new things, to build a family of your own, to make friends, to live rather than surviving. but if surviving is all you can do right now, keep on doing it. i know its so fucking hard. i know. but i also know that shit gets worse before it gets better. and i know that everything gets better. i love you.
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
please reach out if you need help. i will always be here for every single one of you.