BIOLIFE4D is one of the few companies working to develop innovative biotechnology (biotech). This growing industry has a focus on using biological processes for commercial business. It has the potential to help many patients, including those suffering from heart disease, one of the leading causing of death globally. BIOLIFE4D plans to manipulate blood cells in order to successfully create a functioning 4D bioprinted heart that will eventually be transplanted into a patient.
The creation of the 4D heart is meant to eliminate the numerous complications that happen during heart transplants. A common and frightening occurrence is organ rejection, including acute cellular rejection. This is when the T-cells, a part of the immune system, attack the cells of the patient’s new heart.
The process of creating a 4D bioprinted human heart is very complex and precise. It begins with an MRI of a detailed 3-dimensional image of the patient’s heart. This will later be used to create a new heart using a computer software program. Then a blood sample is collected from the patient. BIOLIFE4D will then to reprogram the blood cells into specialized heart cells.
The next step is creating the hydrogel (bio-ink) which is an important step because the bio-ink is what allows the cells to survive. It is made by combining specialized heart cells with nutrients and other materials. The bioprinter is then given the dimensions acquired from the MRI, and it prints out the new heart layer by layer.
After the heart is printed, the heart cells are placed in each layer held together by a biocompatible and biodegradable scaffolding. This is because the cells aren’t yet fused together. By fusing them, the cells create networks which turn into tissue and allow the heart to function. The heart is then placed in a bioreactor, which mimics the oxygen and nutrients it would receive in a body. Once the scaffolding has dissolved and the heart has met the desired amount of strength and maturity, it is ready to be transplanted, allowing the patient to experience a precisely fitted heart that is a genetic match.
This new progressive technology could make the process of heart transplant more efficient and eliminate the many risks associated with heart transplants.
[Sources: BIOLIFE4D; Globe NewsWire]
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