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UTS pioneers bio-ink technology for 3D-printed heart patches

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UTS researchers have utilised bio-ink technology to produce individualised 3D-printed heart patches that have exhibited potential in treating heart failure due to heart attacks.

Researchers from The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have made a groundbreaking discovery that could change the way patients recover from the damage caused by an extensive heart attack. The study, published in the academic journal Bioprinting, revealed that bio-engineered heart tissue can safely and effectively repair areas of dead tissue caused by heart attacks.

The new technology creates personalised ‘bio-inks’ from a patient’s own stem cells, which are used to 3D-print cardiac tissues to repair damaged areas. Dr Carmine Gentile, head of the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group at UTS, explained that “our bio-engineered patches promise to be safer, more consistent and cost-effective for the patient.”

Heart failure is a common complication of heart disease, and end-stage heart failure means some patients join the waiting list for a heart transplant. However, this new technology could enable patients to use their own stem cells to create heart ‘patches’, which could reduce the trauma and cost of a heart transplant and avoid hurdles such as a body rejecting donor tissues.

“Because this technology will enable patients to use their own stem cells to create the heart ‘patches’, not only can they potentially dramatically reduce the trauma and cost of a heart transplant, but also avoid hurdles such as the body rejecting donor tissues,” Dr Gentile said.

The technology is still in its early stages and further testing for long-term effects is underway before starting clinical trials. However, Heart Research Australia, a key funding partner of the research, commended the advances made by Dr Gentile and his research team in striving to improve the devastating statistics surrounding heart disease.

“We are excited about the potential of this technology to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by heart failure each year,” Heart Research Australia CEO Nicci Dent said.

Source: University of Technology Sydney.

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