4 significant achievements of 3D Bioprinting in 2019


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3D printed complex vascular networks.

For decades, one of the challenges in replicating human tissues has been figuring out a way to get nutrients and oxygen into the tissue. Now, using 3D printing, bioengineers are one step closer to generating organs and tissues in the lab. A team led by Rice University and the University of Washington have developed a tool to 3D print complex and “exquisitely entangled” vascular networks. These mimic the body’s natural passageways for blood, air, lymph, and other fluids, and they will be essential for creating artificial organs.

Paving the way to readily available 3D printed human corneas.

The cornea has a vital role in focusing vision. With 10 million people worldwide requiring surgery to prevent corneal blindness as a result of various diseases, there is a significant shortage of corneas available to transplant. To provide a solution, scientists at Newcastle University have developed a technology which allows human corneas to be 3D printed in the laboratory. The scientists use the patient’s eye to generate data that they need to print the new cornea. Therefore, the bioprinted cornea is matched in size and shape perfectly with the original one.

A new era for cardiac tissue engineering – personalized cardiac patches and printing human hearts

Tel Aviv University researchers have been making significant progress with 3D Bioprinting by introducing a new concept for engineering fully personalized cardiac patches to repair heart defects. The novel 3D printing technique uses a patients stem cells and ECM to create a personalized hydrogel as a bio-ink. Using these materials, they 3D‐print thick, vascularized, and perfusable cardiac patches that completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical, and anatomical properties of the patient. Taking the concept one step further, the researchers also printed cellularized human hearts with a natural architecture to demonstrate the potential of the approach for organ replacement.

A new generation of biomaterials which mimic dynamic tissue-based and cellular events and cues

In biomaterials development, it has long been known that we need to be able to better predict biomaterial’s performance in vivo. Whilst the complex materials–biology interface is challenging to characterize, a recent Nature Methods article has highlighted the significant progress made in the biomaterials field in recent years to do just that. Included in the article are scientists who are drawing the material and biology worlds closer by using ‘omics approaches to ‘read out’ a material’s impact on cells and fine-tune the traits of their materials. Similarly, the article discusses the role of researchers who are tuning biomaterials to better match natural tissues. Amongst a few world-changing technologies, the Biogelx™ synthetic ECM has also been featured. These hydrogel materials can mimic the native ECM while providing reproducibility and versatility in 3D cell culture. The uniqueness of these materials is that they are also available as bio-inks, which allow researchers to develop more advanced 3D models through 3D bioprinting.

 

Sources:

D. Ruth and J. Boyd, Rice University News. (2019)

A. Usmani and M. Kapoor, Bloomberg. (2019)

N. Noor et.al. Advanced Sciences. (2019)

V. Marx, Nature Methods. volume 16pages365–368 (2019)

 

 

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