June 10, 2024

3D-printed stem cell patches show promise as heart surgery alternative

Editor's Note

Using a patient’s stem cells to 3D-print patches to place over damaged areas of the heart could provide an alternative to invasive surgery, according to new research detailed in a June 9 report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Although the technology has yet to be tested on humans, scientists at the Heart Research Institute are hoping to conduct clinical trials of what they call “mini hearts” soon, ABC reports. Initial results on the method were published in the journal Biofabrication.  

"The research that we conducted over the past 15 years show that at least in pre-clinical testing it is safe and is also able to improve how the heart pumps," lead researcher Dr Carmine Gentile told ABC. "We showed more recently that the patch is elastic enough to be folded and then transplanted using, hopefully keyhole procedures."

Capability to produce a patch within months could speed treatment for patients who linger for years and often die on transplant waiting lists, researchers say.


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