In case you didn’t already know, this Saturday, September 29 marks World Heart Day. Created by the World Heart Federation, this date serves to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading killer. This education centers around preventative measures individuals can take to reduce their own risk of cardiovascular disease – like diet and exercise – but our work toward 3D bioprinting human hearts has the potential to save those who are already afflicted.
Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading killer because the heart is the body’s most important organ, and having anything even slightly wrong with it can present a significant risk. The heart pumps blood into the circulatory system – including to the brain – and provides the body with oxygen and nutrients. It is the engine for the body’s other incredibly important organs. In the simplest terms: no heart, no function.
While we are currently working to 3D bioprint a mini-heart, its medical and scientific significance cannot be understated. It will certainly have its own applications – including testing in the pharmaceutical industry and reducing animal testing in the biomedical industry – but most importantly, a successfully 3D bioprinted mini-heart will let us know that we’re on the right track and allow us to scale our technology up toward a full-size 3D bioprinted heart.
If 3D bioprinting a full-size human heart viable for transplant sounds like an incredible achievement with the potential to change the world, that’s because it is. Humanity’s ability to combat the world’s leading cause of death – heart disease – is limited primarily by the shortage of hearts available for transplant. In the U.S., for example, about 20 people die every day while waiting for organ transplants while the waiting list continues to grow. By increasing the supply with 3D bioprinted hearts, we can save millions of lives.
The only way any of that can happen is with the support of investors who believe in this tremendous undertaking. If the potential to save millions of lives isn’t enough of a reason to invest, there is also a tremendous market opportunity for this technology. No matter how you slice it, this is an investment in humanity’s future.