3D printing bioprinter spatial tissue structures in proper format

Feb

16

2016

It is scientists succeeded in printing fabrics with the aid of a special 3D printer. With the printer can be printed for living tissue structures, such as an ear or a jawbone. The results presented are all made with the aid of experimental animals.

The goal is to print in the end tissue material and to use that in humans. In this case, 3D printed structures were implanted in test animals, after which the structures came to fruition with functional tissue including a system of blood vessels. The structures had the correct size and the correct intensity to be applied in humans in the future.

The difference with the by researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine developed device and ‘standard’ bodies printers, is that this printer can print structures that are strong enough to implant in the body. The Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System, or ITOP, was developed over a period of ten years.

The printer print not only the supporting fabric in the form of biodegradable, plastic-like material, but also the gels based on water which contain the appropriate cells. The strong, temporary outer structure holds the cells together.

cell structure

The difficulty in the printing of organs such as kidneys or structures such as an ear, is that the cells in the structures is often not long enough to “life” in order to integrate with the body. In this case, it is in the structure also constructed a grid of micro-channels. These micro-channels provide for the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the new living structures increasing. For example, in the long run also forms a blood vessel system.

The latter was a difficult problem. It was already known that living cell structures had to be smaller than 200 micrometers to survive without its own blood vessels. In this study, it was succeeded to grow a small ear of nearly 4 centimeters. In the ear was already blood vessel formation after one month visible.

Thus, the composition of the gels used seems to ensure that cells remain alive and that blood vessels grow. The ears from these tests were implanted by the investigators under the skin of mice, where they grew further. Also experimented researchers with growing soft structures such as printed muscle tissue was implanted into rats.

A printed jawbone was created with human stem cells. In order to test the growth of bone material, pieces were also printed skull bone implanted in rats. After five months, had formed a circulatory system.

The paper is in Nature Biotechnology.

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