A team of researchers from Washington State University’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering has developed a novel, customizable 3D bioprinting material designed to better mimic the structure of natural tissues.
With programmable mechanical properties, scaffolding materials can better promote the growth of natural cells in various environments, thereby providing scientists with a more reliable way to make customized tissues.
The co-author of the study, Professor Arda Gozen, believes that the material is an easy-to-use bio-ink. Doctors are likely to press a button to bioprint the starting stent with the material, and produce replacement skin, cartilage and other items for the patient as needed. Biological structure.
The success of this method in manufacturing functional tissues largely depends on the ability of the manufactured structures to mimic natural tissues. If you want to grow cells and transform them into functional tissues, you need to match the mechanical environment of natural tissues.
The holy grail of 3D bioprinting is the manufacture of entire replacement organs. This is a milestone that will eliminate the waiting time for transplantation and reduce the huge burden on the global healthcare system. At present, 3D bioprinting technology can only produce simple tissue samples, so as to deposit bio-ink layer by layer to erect the scaffold, and then provide a nourishing environment for cell growth.
Evolution is much more complicated than our high-precision micro-deposition system, which means that real biological cells are often difficult to grow on artificial scaffolds. For example, skin cells like to grow on a scaffold that feels like real skin, while muscle cells like to grow on a scaffold that feels like real muscle.
3D bioprinting mainly involves bringing these biological cells into a state of being surrounded by real things. The typical method for researchers to fine-tune scaffolding is to add or remove trusses to increase or decrease the stiffness of the structure. Although this method is relatively simple, it does not provide the flexibility required for end-use tissue engineering.
In order to meet the needs of adaptability, the Washington team has developed a new type of bio-ink with customizable mechanical properties. The bio-ink made of gelatin, gum arabic and sodium alginate combines three chemical processes to “tie” these three components together, almost like a braided rope. Modifying a separate chemical process allows scientists to fine-tune the stiffness of the final support without having to use trusses to modify the geometric design.
This allows you to adjust the properties without changing the scaffolding design and gives us an extra degree of freedom.
Although this work is still in its early stages, Gozen’s team has used this material for 3D printed nasal cartilage scaffolds. Simulating the complexity of natural tissue is still a challenge, but as the printing parameters or composition changes, the team believes that it can finally make a usable scaffold structure for large-scale tissue engineering applications.
Similarly, researchers at Pennsylvania State University have previously developed a 3D bioprinting process that can simultaneously print hard and soft tissues to repair skin and bone damage. Using two specially designed bio-inks and bio-printing processes, the team was able to repair the holes in the skull and skin of the rat model within a few minutes in one step.
Elsewhere, scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have recently developed a new method of 3D printing hydrogel scaffolds based on ultrashort peptides. The team used short amino acid chains to formulate bio-inks for tissue engineering purposes.
Link to this article：Customizable 3D bioprinting materials
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