By Sy Mukherjee
April 15, 2019

Hello and happy Monday, readers. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

The prospect of 3D printing organs has, understandably, been a tantalizing one in medicine. Israeli scientists have reportedly come one step closer to that lofty goal—in what is no less critical than the heart itself, according to a release from Tel Aviv University researchers.

“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” says Tel Aviv University’s Professor Tal Dvir, who led the project, in a statement.

The researchers are quick to note that there’s still a ways to go before fully-customized human hearts a reality. The one they developed was just the size of a rabbit’s heart.

But the process behind the mini-heart’s production makes it striking. The heart was created with a patient’s own blood vessels, cells, and other various biological materials. That means that, theoretically, such technology could lead to fully personalized organs.

I know I’m a broken record on this—but it’s always important to take such reported early-stage advances with a grain of salt. Would such a printed heart, grown to a larger level suitable for humans, actually work (and work over an extended period) in a wide-scale clinical trial? It’s a critical question that shouldn’t be lost amidst understandable excitement.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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