Bioprinting: From concept to reality
The human cell represents the smallest functional unit of life. All tissues in the body are composed of multiple cell types, typically arranged in a 3-D architecture that is relevant to the functions they carry out. Since cells were first isolated and grown in the laboratory environment, biologists and engineers have pursued the utilization of these tiny building blocks in the reconstruction and regeneration of functional tissue. Whether used in a controlled laboratory setting to model specific diseases and test the effects of drugs, or delivered into the body as therapeutics for the treatment of disease, the common goal is to establish or re-establish in vivo-like function.
The field of tissue engineering has deployed several fabrication strategies aimed at bringing cells and structure together to generate tissue. Biomaterial scaffolding—which provides structural support and can be formed into biologically relevant shapes—has been combined with cells to generate hybrid 3-D structures for use as tissue surrogates in vitro and in vivo. Protocols have been developed that enable removal of living cells from native tissues, leaving only a natural scaffolding of extracellular matrix, which can then be re-seeded with cells to reconstruct or partially reconstruct 3-D tissues. Another approach to soft tissue reconstruction has been the development of cell-laden hydrogels, which are often cast into a specific shape and placed into a permissive environment in vitro or in vivo that allows maturation and establishment of tissue-specific characteristics. In recent years, with the advancement of 3-D printing technologies for the on-demand fabrication of complex polymer-based objects, efforts have been underway to adapt 3-D printing technologies and engineer bioprinting instruments that can leverage similar 3-D replication concepts and accommodate the incorporation of living cells.
First-generation 3-D prototyping techniques relied on subtractive processes—the removal of material from a solid block using filing, milling, drilling, cutting and grinding methods. Advanced 3-D prototyping technologies utilize additive processes in which the desired part is built up—or “printed” layer-by-layer. Objects of virtually any shape can now be fabricated from a wide range of non-biological materials using additive technologies.
The power and utility of 3-D printing in the non-biological materials area has sparked the imaginations of biologists and engineers alike and fueled R&D activities aimed at producing intricate biological 3-D structures. Consequently, precise, automated, layer-by-layer fabrication of tissue (bioprinting) is now possible using only living cells as building blocks. This is resulting in simultaneous achievement of unique features such as true 3-D, tissue-like cellular densities and reproduction of native tissue architecture through the spatially directed placement of distinct cell types.
Bioprinting hardware requires unique features that ensure success at the interface of engineering and biology.
The Latest on: Bioprinting
- LulzBot Announces 3D Bioprinting Collaboration With FluidFormon June 25, 2019 at 2:44 pm
Aleph Objects, Inc., manufacturer of LulzBot 3D Printers, announced their collaboration with FluidForm Inc., an innovator in 3D bioprinting. FluidForm’s FRESH printing technique, developed in ... […]
- 3D bioprinted organ models key to $1.9 billion marketon June 24, 2019 at 6:15 pm
There is no doubt that 3D bioprinting is a technology of the future. Imagine being able to print a kidney or liver on demand. This is a stark contrast to the long wait for a donor organ today. ... […]
- Ricoh brings bioprinting to new business with Baltimore biotechnology companyon June 20, 2019 at 9:13 am
A Tokyo, Japan-based electronics and imaging company known for printers is forming a partnership with Baltimore-based biotech company Elixirgen Scientific. With the partnership, Ricoh Company, Ltd is ... […]
- RDS gives big tech a run for its money in the innovation stakeson June 19, 2019 at 10:38 pm
The word conjures up images of apps and advanced manufacturing, bioprinting and software engineering. If you want a classic local example of this look no further than the Royal Dublin Society. It was ... […]
- Ricoh, Elixirgen Scientific form biomedical venture, meld bioprinting with cell differentiationon June 19, 2019 at 3:00 am
Ricoh has forged a partnership with Elixirgen Scientific to develop biomedical products and services. The effort seems a bit out of character for Ricoh, which is best known as a printer company. ... […]
- A Bioprinting World Mapon June 18, 2019 at 11:13 pm
With 109 established bioprinting companies and many entrepreneurs around the world showing interest in the emerging field, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes one of the most sought ... […]
- Scientists 3D-print biological tissue without using scaffoldson June 17, 2019 at 4:23 pm
Ordinarily, the "bioprinting" of bodily tissue (including organs) involves seeding cells into a material with a scaffolding-like microstructure. That material provides a three-dimensional home for ... […]
- European Bioprinting Company regenHU is Paving the Way in Therapeutical Bioprintingon June 13, 2019 at 3:20 am
Nestled in the Fribourg countryside, amid medieval towns, deep mountain lakes, and Swiss-alpine traditions, bioprinting company regenHU (which stands for regeneration human) is developing some of ... […]
- Loveland-made 3D printers could eventually help build human organson June 12, 2019 at 7:10 pm
Working with Massachusetts-based FluidForm, Aleph has modified its LulzBot Mini 2 desktop printer to enable it to 3D-print liquids including the building blocks of human tissue in a process called ... […]
- Affordable desktop bioprinting machine made from 3D printeron June 12, 2019 at 2:59 am
Instructables member “mechbioprinter” has created a new tutorial on how to convert a 3D printer into a desktop bioprinting machine for less than $400. Check out the video below to learn more about the ... […]
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