3D-Bioprinting development may soon allow transplantable human tissues production

3D-Bioprinting development may soon allow transplantable human tissues production

3D-bioprinting is a brand new technology. Probably it’s a matter of days when it’s possible to create replacement human tissue and transplant it.  A group of researchers from Swansea University, the UK, are developing a design and a 3D-bioprinting technology at a new level, including biological methods to create living tissues. If everything goes right, it’s possible that the procedure could be efficient to create tissues ready to replace the dead or damaged ones. This is about producing tissue for hips and knees resulting from arthritis, and also breast, abdominal and tracheal reconstruction after cancer.  Scientists expect that this step is revolutionary for reconstructive medicine.

The new technology focuses on fabricating living structures. The 3Dynamic Tissue Engineering Workstation is a latest variant of 3D-bioprinter produced. It makes the whole process correct, exact, safe and more accessible. Dr. Daniel Thomas of the College of Medicine who develops the research explains, that the 3D-bioprinting method allows spread the technology wider as an experiment in hospitals and at universities. In short period researchers should enable the technology into active use.

3D-Bioprinting development may soon allow transplantable human tissues production

heterogeneous tissue: a mixture of chondrocytes cells, alginate, hyaluronic acid, transforming growth factor ß1, antibiotics and gelatine.

The research began 2 years ago. In Swansea they had no such a printer to make soft tissue, so the university team sketched and built such a machine acknowledging properties а the material.  In particular it was produced to print materials from chondrocyte cells that maintain the cartilaginous matrix in the body tissue. The cells are bioprinted with the exact precision to duplicate copy the complex structure. Primarily the process is centered around initiating 3D-bioprinting hardware, firmware and software capability, which is based on customary 3D Printing. This appeared together with research which combines features of developmental biology, cellular self-organization and tissue maturation processes, so as to produce complex lively structures.

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Nowadays the research focuses on creating lively tissues for knee repairs. Those suffering from knee arthritis owing to wearing articular cartilage today have a hope of an arthroplasty operation. It would involve the inserting artificial knee joint. The procedure is painful, though necessarily constant. By 3D-bioprinting patches of tissue will first be created and afterwards transplanted. That’s what will get the knee cartilage to be fixed. In 2010 the global knee replacement market cost $6.9 billion, and by 2017 it’s expected to become as much as $11 billion because of the aging Earth population. Swansea University 3D-bioprinting research pays more attention to building simple lively tissue to use in reconstructive surgery and to do patients good.

3D-Bioprinting development may soon allow transplantable human tissues production

3D-bioprinting ear structures

The research pays more attention to creating fully digital equipment which is more efficient at working with biologically based fluids. Dr Daniel Thomas explains that 3D-bioprinting is a customary automatized layer-by-layer additive manufacturing process, which is used to create 3D functional lively macro tissue.  The whole procedure will be computer numerically supervised so as to provide precise buildup of a bioactive gel that is the building material. Special supervision and control over self-organizing abilities of cells is also required. That will help produce the tissue with mechanical, functional, biologic and metabolic qualities and properties.

3D-Bioprinting development may soon allow transplantable human tissues production

Chondrocyte-based tissue produced after two days of maturation

The first step in 3D-bioprinting is loading biologically active gel into a syringe-based buildup system containing from 2 to 20 million chondrocyte cells per milliliter, together with hyaluronic acid, antibiotics, growth factor β1, alginate and gelatine. Based on a pronterface architecture, control software directs steppers fastened to each axis to place the head in xyz coordinates. This allows creating of the tissue with degree precision of structure to ±5µm, as it is with common 3D printing. The buildup speed controls the exact resolution of the tissue.
As the 3D printed pre-tissue is brought to 37,8C, the cells start growing and transferring into a tissue matrix in about three weeks. According to Dr. Thomas proteoglycans are the most important and crucial component of the matrix, for it is the filler material that links the tissue cells and serves as the biochemical and structural substructure for the surrounding tissue, without which the tissue fails to form in a proper way.

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The layer firmness can be varied by modifying the buildup speed. Various types of biomatter can be employed in production, like hydrogel-based stuff to build up fibrin. Those could be use to create replacement arteries. During the production researchers had difficulties in understanding 3D cellular structures and what lies between them and to choose the necessary materials to produce lively tissue.

In the long run the purpose of the research is to develop 3D-bioprinting as a method that will be used to create numerous types of tissue and to use them as repair materials during surgeries or else in pharmaceutical tests. The further research will make it possible to use various cell kinds at a time to create composite tissues. They will be appropriate for breast and abdominal reconstruction. The next step of the research is to make up components to replace parts of ears that will reproduce their structure. The whole research looks to revolutionize surgeries. The ultimate goal is to use innovative technologies that will 3D print new tissues straight into the patient.


New to 3D Printing? Check out our 3D Printing basics section, find the answer on popular question what is 3d printing and learn about many other interesting things.

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