Professor Park Hoon-joon at the Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and professor Jo Dong-woo at the Pohang University of Science & Technology announced on February 9 that their research team developed a myocardial patch that recovers the function of the hearts of ischemic heart disease patients by the use of a stem cell and a 3D printer.
The myocardial patch, which is printed with a 3D printer and attached to the hearts of such patients for blood vessel and tissue regeneration, has a structure in which cardiac extracellular matrices are used as bio ink and cardiac stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells have a double cell arrangement based on 3D cell printing with a vascular endothelial growth factor inserted.
In the research teams’ experiment in which the patch was transplanted into the epicardia of animals showing myocardial infarction, a typical symptom of ischemic heart diseases, their body parts subject to fibrosis that became stiff due to the lack of blood supply were reduced while the number of capillaries increased. In addition, connection between the patch and the surrounding blood vessel structures allowed cardiac stem cells to move to infarcted parts and new blood vessels to be created with some of them differentiated in the form of myocardial cells.
“The human heart has been regarded as an organ that cannot be restored once damaged but the patch opened the possibility of regenerative therapy for recovery from heart attacks,” the research team explained, adding, “Based on it, we will work on a next-generation stem cell therapy platform by making use of tissue engineering techniques such as 3D cell printing and preparing stem cell lines that can be clinically applied.” Details of the research are available in the Biomaterials journal.