Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 11th 2014 Contents B20
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, April 11, 2014
o not miss "The Frog Prince" at Queens Hall from April 17 to 21
(Easter Weekend) a new play from the creative mind of the Crazy Catholic
Naparima Bowl box office opens from Wed 9
April at 11am daily 657-8770, 732-5796,
INFO: 732-5796, 683-6496, 796-4272
Hi Lo Gulf V
Sat 12 April - 7.30 p.m.
Sun 13th April - 5.30 p.m.
Fri 11th April - 8.30 p.m.
OPENING DAY: 2 persons on 1 ticket ($150)
KIDS & ADULTS
After rocking NAPA POS, The classic fairy tale returns to Naparima Bowl San Fernando for
3 final shows!! From the producers of Rapunzel Aladdin Sleeping Beauty Snow White
The show everyone loves; couples, families,
friends and theatre lovers everywhere.
You are invited to the ball - Magic,
Romance, Comedy and Non-Stop Fun
Produced by D C Shell Theatre - Pioneers in family
ntertainment; fairy tales, Bollywood theatre,
adventure & clean comedy.
Don't dream... come!
It may sound far-fetched, but sci-
entists are attempting to build a
human heart with a 3-D printer.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a
new heart for a patient with their own
cells that could be transplanted. It is
an ambitious project to first, make a
heart and then get it to work in a
patient, and it could be years---perhaps
decades---before a 3-D printed heart
would ever be put in a person.
The technology, though, is not all
that futuristic: Researchers have
already used 3-D printers to make
splints, valves and even a human ear.
So far, the University of Louisville
team has printed human heart valves
and small veins with cells, and they
can construct some other parts with
other methods, said Stuart Williams,
a cell biologist leading the project.
They have also successfully tested the
tiny blood vessels in mice and other
small animals, he said.
Williams believes they can print
parts and assemble an entire heart in
three to five years.
The finished product would be
called the "bioficial heart", a blend of
natural and artificial.
The biggest challenge is to get the
cells to work together as they do in
a normal heart, said Williams, who
heads the project at the Cardiovascular
Innovation Institute, a partnership
between the university and Jewish
Hospital in Louisville.
An organ built from a patient's cells
could solve the rejection problem some
patients have with donor organs or
an artificial heart, and it could elim-
inate the need for anti-rejection drugs,
If everything goes according to plan,
Williams said the heart might be tested
in humans in less than a decade. The
first patients would most likely be
those with failing hearts who are not
candidates for artificial hearts, includ-
ing children whose chests are too small
to for an artificial heart.
Hospitals in Louisville have a history
of artificial heart achievements. The
second successful US surgery of an
artificial heart, the Jarvik 7, was
implanted in Louisville in the mid-
1980s. Doctors from the University
of Louisville implanted the first self-
contained artificial heart, the AbioCor,
in 2001. That patient, Robert L Tools,
lived for 151 days with the titanium
and plastic pump. Williams said the
heart he envisions would be built from
cells taken from the patient's fat.
But plenty of difficulties remain,
including understanding how to keep
manufactured tissue alive after it is
"With complex organs such as the
kidney and heart, a major challenge
is being able to provide the structure
with enough oxygen to survive until
it can integrate with the body," said
Dr Anthony Atala, whose team at
Wake Forest University is using 3-D
printers to attempt to make a human
The 3-D printing approach is not
the only strategy researchers are inves-
tigating to build a heart out of a
patient's own cells. Elsewhere, scien-
tists are exploring the idea of putting
the cells into a mould.
In experiments, scientists have
made rodent hearts that beat in the
laboratory. Some simple body parts
made using this method have already
been implanted in people, including
bladders and windpipes.
The 3-D printer works in much the
same way an inkjet printer does, with
a needle that squirts material in a pre-
The cells would be purified in a
machine, and then printing would
begin in sections, using a computer
model to build the heart layer by layer.
Williams' printer uses a mixture of a
gel and living cells to gradually build
the shape. Eventually, the cells would
grow together to form the tissue.
The technology has already helped
in other areas of medicine, including
creating sure-fitting prosthetics and
a splint that was printed to keep a
sick child's airway open. Doctors at
Cornell University used a 3-D printer
last year to create an ear with living
"We're experiencing an exponential
explosion with the technology," said
Michael Golway, president of
Louisville-based Advanced Solutions
Inc, which built a printer being used
by Williams' team. (AP)
In this March 6 photo, a 3-D printer was used to construct these tiny two-
ventricle cylinders at the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Researchers are working on a project to build a human heart using a 3-D printer
and human cells.
University of Louisville researcher Stuart Williams, director of a programme to build a human heart with a 3-
D printer and human cells, poses for a picture, in Louisville, Kentucky. AP PHOTOS
Scientists try 3-D printer
to build human heart
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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