The Children’s Heart Research and Outcomes Center, aptly abbreviated as HeRO, is at the cutting edge of tissue engineering. A part of Georgia Tech and Emory University, HeRO is developing therapies that can change children’s lives and, unsurprisingly, 3D printing is playing its role in that plan.
The Davis Group, led by HeRO director Michael Davis, is working with 3D bioprinters to engineer valves, leaflets and patches for the heart, made from a patient’s own stem cells.With these projects, the hope is that one day HeRO will be able to provide a long-lasting solution for children born with congenital heart disease.
According to the Davis Group’s bio, “Currently, the only major treatment for heart failure is transplantation. However, it is estimated that less than 30% of patients survive to receive their new hearts.”
For this reason, the lab pulls focus on to regenerative fields of treatment and preservation “using molecular-based and biomaterials-based approaches to restoring function after cardiac injury.”
In one project, led by fourth-year PhD candidate Aline Nachlas, the lab is looking at a 3D bioprinting approach to produce heart valves.