DEC 03, 2020 6:00 AM PST

3-D Printed, Realistic Heart Model for Training Future Physicians

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Building a realistic tissue model is critical for training young physicians and surgeons, and yet challenging due to the innate complexity of human organs. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University came up with a 3-D printing approach, which allowed them to embed soft biomaterials to a hydrogel base to create a full-size human heart model with a life-like texture.

Building on recent advances in a bioprinting technique, Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH), the team of scientists used a biomaterial called alginate to mimic the soft-touching cardiac muscle tissue. 

Alginate, the salt of alginic acid, is a polysaccharide made out of repeating β-D-mannuronate (M) and α-L-guluronate (G) sugar residues. It is commonly found in the cell walls of brown algae. Due to its non-toxic, hydrophilic nature, alginate is often used to make various medical products, including skin wound dressings.

The full-size organ model was a step-up from the team's previous projects. It represents a human heart with accurate details, thanks to the real life magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data used to guide the printer. What's more, the cost-effective 3-D printed model was also tunable and suturable, providing surgeons and their trainees a realistic platform for practice. 

This advanced 3-D printing method was reported in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Source: ACS via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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