Written by Tim Rigby
The creation of an artificial human heart is something that’s been the goal of researchers and scientists for decades, but it still seems like something we are ages away from achieving. Despite past achievements from medical science to develop non-human hearts for use in humans (such as the famous baboon heart), the likelihood of constructing a purely “human” heart from the ground up has felt like something that could take decades away – until now. Researchers and bioengineers from Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have taken a “major step forward” toward the creation of an artificial heart suitable for human use. Their recent report was published in the journal Science.
Permit us to get a bit technical, but the team has developed what they consider “the first-ever biohybrid model of human ventricles with helically aligned beating cardiac cells”. When the heart muscles are properly aligned, there is a substantial improvement in the efficiency with which blood volume can be pumped from the ventricle with every contraction. With regard to the “helical” structure, this simply means “helix-like” or “spiral-like”. The study is one of the most significant advancements in organ biofabrication and ultimately propels modern science forward vis-à-vis the accomplishment of creating an artificial heart from the ground up for human use.