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Artificial & Replacement Organs & Tissues Bioengineering Biotechnology Genetic Engineering

Technology Allows 3D Tissues To Be Printed Directly Onto The Body

3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Posted on Jun 19, 2020, 4 p.m.

Advancements in technology have come so far as to allow scientists to produce biological products such as bone, skin, and blood vessels, although there are some risks involved in using 3D printed parts in human patients, even with all the progress.

Scientists believe that they have developed a method for 3D printing human body parts that will make the procedures involving using these tissues much safer. When tissues are printed they are then transplanted into the patients after being printed, but now a team led by Terasaki Institute researchers suggest that these tissues can now be printed directly into a patient’s body. 

Currently the method of printing tissues outside of the body can present the possibility of surgical complications and infections post surgery, large incisions used in the process can lead to longer recovery times after surgery, and the delay between printing and transplant can cause further complications. 

This technology uses basic tissue engineering principles with the printed tissues being made from bio-ink providing the framework materials for living cells to use to grow into new tissues, but now a special bio-ink formulation has been developed that can be placed directly into the body. 

“This bio-ink formulation is 3D printable at physiological temperature, and can be crosslinked safely using visible light inside the body.” says first author Ali Asghari Adib, Ph.D, in a media release.

A new 3D printing nozzle and interlocking printing technique to use with the new bio-ink was also created. The new bio-ink can be squeezed through the nozzle of the printer in a similar manner to icing a cake through a tube, and the nozzle punctures the tissue it is printing on allowing the bio-ink to fill the gaps the nozzle created to serve as an anchor for the 3D printed tissues. This development, published in IOPScience,  brings significant advancements to the field of tissue engineering, and can possibly provide improvements to the procedures of using these materials. 

“The interlocking mechanism enables stronger attachments of the scaffolds to the soft tissue substrate inside the patient body,” adds Asghari Adib.

“Developing personalized tissues that can address various injuries and ailments is very important for the future of medicine,” concludes senior author Ali Khademhosseini, PhD. “The work presented here addresses an important challenge in making these tissues, as it enables us to deliver the right cells and materials directly to the defect in the operating room.”

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