By Elaine Ford and staff
Updated Sat at 2:50pm
PHOTO: Doctors hold the new bionic heart that could last at least 10 years. (Supplied: Prince Charles Hospital)
Medical and engineering specialists say they are on the cusp of a breakthrough after successfully transplanting a bionic heart into a sheep.
The bionic heart was designed by Brisbane engineer Dr Daniel Timms in 2001 while he was studying at the Queensland University of Technology.
It contains a spinning disc with small blades on each side that pump blood around the body and lungs, without a traditional pulse.
The bionic heart can last at least 10 years and could help bridge the gap between patients requiring heart transplants and the number of donor hearts available.
The team, made up of Queensland and international researchers, said the device was a significant advance on other designs that were large, prone to wear, or could only pump on the left or right side.
It is expected to be ready for human trials within three years.
A crowdfunding campaign called The Common Good has been established to raise about $5 million to fast track development and clinical trials.