In case you missed it, BIOLIFE4D recently successfully demonstrated its ability to 3D bioprint human cardiac tissue derived from stem cells, which it had reprogrammed from an individual’s specialized cells into the different types of heart cells needed to bioengineer a human heart. And astonishingly, we 3D bioprinted our human cardiac patch more than a year ahead of our initial projection. As a first step in our goal of 3D bioprinting a human heart viable for transplant, this is a significant scientific breakthrough which has important and potential lifesaving applications of its own.
Our human cardiac patch can be used to restore the heart’s ability to beat in patients with heart damage, which can either happen suddenly or over a longer period of time. Sudden or acute heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump the amount of blood required by the body, and symptoms of sudden or acute heart failure can include weakness and fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and wheezing and coughing. When a cardiac patch is applied to a damaged heart it could improve the heart’s ability to pump blood and beat, effectively restoring functionality.
To put the size of the problem into context, an estimated 26 million people had to live with some degree of heart failure in 2014, and about 700,000 individuals in the U.S. suffer heart attacks annually, illustrating that in the U.S. alone there is a significant market for solutions addressing lesser stage heart disease or failure. With so many lives at risk, developing a viable solution to help restore cardiac function is an imperative. While there are currently patches available, none currently address this issue, and none are made from a patient’s own cells. Our groundbreaking patch made up of all of the native cells found in the heart could revolutionize treatment and provide an entirely new and novel approach to helping individuals treat damaged and/or failing hearts.
While our ultimate goal is to 3D bioprint a human heart viable for transplantation and we are on our way there, we will continue to roll out milestones, in addition to our cardiac patch, including other incremental solutions such as replacement heart valves, blood vessels, and a mini-heart. Not only will these devices bring us closer to a full heart and the lives it can save, but they each have unique applications of their own, allowing BIOLIFE4D to save even more lives along the way.