Bioprinting and Bioinks to support clinical applications – How can Biogelx™ peptide-based 3D scaffolds help?


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Undoubtedly in the past decade there has been growing interest in 3D Bioprinting driven by the need for better and more physiologically relevant 3D cell culture models. The choice of bioink is obviously a key component in any such model and is routinely determined and optimised for a specific cell and or tissue type.

Key applications where bioprinting and bioinks such as Biogelx™ peptide-based products are gaining more and more attention are the areas of drug discovery, cell therapies and other Advanced Medicinal Therapeutic Products (AMTPs).

In terms of drug discovery, in the development process from target identification to clinical approval an important early stage is high-throughput screening (HTS) of small compound libraries in cell-based assays. Currently, the majority of such cell-based assays are carried out on cells propagated in 2D on plastic surfaces optimized for tissue culture. At the same time, compelling evidence suggests that cells cultured in such conditions are not representative of cells residing in the complex microenvironment of a tissue. This discrepancy is thought to make 2D systems relatively poor models to predict drug responses, and therefore a contributing factor to the high failure rate in drug discovery. Thus, 3D cell culture technologies that present more in vivo-like cell environments, and consider factors such as mechanical and biochemical cues, are now being pursued with intensity as these are expected to lead to better precision in drug discovery for predicting both efficacy and toxicity of potential new drug compounds. The major challenge remains the creation of 3D cultures which are highly reproducible, biologically relevant and recapitulate microenvironmental factors that resemble in vivo tissue and disease pathology. Not only does bioprinting go a long way to address the creation of reproducible 3D models, but the employment of synthetic bioinks like Biogelx-INKs, which incorporate biomimetic functionality, whilst also ensuring manufacturing consistency can guarantee assay reproducibility.

Bioinks and hydrogels are also key to the development of ATMPs to provide an optimal matrix for ex-vivo growth of specific cell types, most notably stem cells, for potential cell therapies. Key areas of research include regeneration of liver, bone, cartilage, heart and neuronal repair. As well as providing a matrix for cell growth, bioinks can serve as a depot for drug delivery. This could be in the form of printed drug eluting stents or implants, or in the generation of, for example, bioprinted tissues loaded with anticancer drugs to be implanted into a tumor resected site.  It is therefore paramount that the materials used in such ATMPs are regulatory compliant and manufactured in accordance with GMP, thus it is likely there will be a push for optimising synthetic bioinks (such as Biogelx™-INKs) for use in the preparation and delivery of cell therapies.

Do you want to know how Biogelx™ hydrogels and bioinks could best support your research? Arrange a call with our business development manager!

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