We’ve already seen 3-D printers create some great modern health improvements, but is it possible that a 3-D printer will deliver a heart within the next 10 years?
A team of cardiovascular scientists says it will be able to print an entire human heart from a patient's own cells within a decade.
Stuart K. Williams, executive director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, heads the project, which has already bioprinted the smallest blood vessels in the heart used for microcirculation.
Williams sounds very confident that the 3-D heart is coming soon.
"America put a man on the Moon in less than a decade. I said a full decade to provide some wiggle room," Williams told Wired.co.uk.
Williams claims he and his team have already bioengineered a coronary artery and printed the smallest blood vessels in the heart used in microcirculation.
"These studies have reached the advanced preclinical stage showing printed blood vessels will reconnect with the recipient tissue creating new blood flow in the printed tissue."
The printers the team is developing for the task are currently focusing on printing the separate parts, but the ultimate goal is to bioprint the entire organ at one time, something Williams thinks can be pulled off.
"Dare I say the heart is one of the easiest to bioprint? It's just a pump with tubes you need to connect,” Williams stated.