At BIOLIFE4D, our ultimate goal is to 3D bioprint a human heart viable for transplant, but as we hit milestones along the way, there are opportunities to apply our results to other critical problems. Take our mini-heart for example. The mini heart was not only the appropriate next step on our way to reaching our full-sized heart, but we’ll also be able to use bioprinted mini hearts for a number of other applications, including the advancement of personalized medicine.
Personalized medicine is the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient, as opposed to the traditional random “trial-and-error” method that is common practice today. Historically, doctors have approached medicine based on broad population trends, even though each person’s genetic makeup is slightly different from everyone else’s – often in very important ways that affect health. Personalized medicine, on the other hand, moves us closer to more precise, predictable and powerful healthcare that is customizable to patients, and the ability to 3D bioprint organs will certainly help it advance.
Bioprinting uses human cells to 3D print body parts, including multilayered skin, bone, vascular grafts, tracheal splints, heart tissue and cartilaginous structures – and organs – like our mini heart. And in the case of our mini heart, we will be able to take actual cells from the individual patient suffering from heart disease, print mini hearts based on those cells, and test potential treatments on the bioprinted hearts – as opposed to applying trial-and-error methods to the actual patient. Using these results, the doctor can then prescribe a personalized therapy regime specifically tailored to that individual patient.
Personalized medicine could also improve our ability to diagnose and treat diseases at an earlier stage, when it is easier to treat effectively, changing the way we think about, identify and manage health problems. As technologies advance, like the ability to bioprint human organs, this approach to medicine will become more commonplace and lives will be saved!
If you’re interested in learning more about bioprinting and BIOLIFE4D’s incredible process, check out our website. BIOLIFE4D has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few months, and we’re excited to keep it rolling into the New Year! If you feel so inclined, please follow along on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and share our story with your network.
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