A major challenge in tissue engineering and stem cell research has been to mimic the micro and macro environment of human tissues. A satisfying functional outcome is highly dependent on the level to which tissue scientists and engineers can control the inner micro- and macro-scale features of the engineered-tissue. In response to this need, advances in additive manufacturing inspired scientists to develop and adapt this technology for bioprinting of human tissues and organs .
As Stuart K. Williams, Ph.D, from the university of Louisville says “It’s just a pump with tubes you need to connect” but we are not there yet, it’s all about the ” strategic placement of the valves and big vessels”, this would be achievable within a decade he asserts. However, what can be done today is the bioprinting of tissue like cartilage, skin, or liver. Such tissue can be used in drug discovery where researchers can test new potential treatments and evaluate efficacy in very early stages. This process allows us to produce more realistic and functional models of what is truly happening at the cellular level as opposed to 2D cell culturing, where cells are not expanding in a proper 3D environment. As a result, new drugs and treatments will reach clinical trials faster with a decreased number of failures and reduced need of animal testing. In cosmetology, for instance, the goal everybody is striving for is to completely eradicate the need of animal trials, which companies such as Organovo, L’Oreal, BASF, Poietis are currently working on by developing skin tissue models.
One has to remember, the process of printing the actual tissue structure is a critical step, but the most essential one is the culturing of the bioprinted constructs in order to have the cells grow and proliferate. Therefore, the focus must be on the cell friendly and supporting material. Much like the typical paper printer, the magic is in the ink.
THE PRINTING PROCESS
Before you’re ready to print, the cells need to be mixed with ink. FIll your syringes and use the Cellmixer to conveniently and safely mix them into an empty cartridge. Detach the cartridge and use it in your BIO X with your nozzle of choice.
The parameters and the nozzle’s diameter are chosen accordingly to the material of choice. Select the design you want and press print. BIO X will calibrate itself and start printing.
Depending on the material you are printing, you may need to crosslink the printed construct. For UV crosslinking you can turn on the built in LED and the BIO X will do all the work for you.