Name: Dr. David Mills
Occupation: Professor of Biological Sciences
Institution: Louisana Tech University
1.What are you currently using CELLINK technology for?
We are focused towards the on-demand production of anti-infective, chemotherapeutic and regenerative tissue systems using 3D bioprinting. Our design emphasizes three parameters: 1) sustained drug release, 2) optimized release time, and 3) an ‘a la carte’ potential for applying selected drugs and other bioactive agents. We have demonstrated the ability to print anti-microbial or chemotherapeutic bioinks. Our 3D bioprinting constructs will permit clinicians to provide a customized and tailored treatment that meets specific patient needs through a tunable drug delivery system that provides sustained release for an array of bioactive agents.
Current and future work is extending the breadth of our 3D printing system for bioactive implants and testing within an animal model. A new project is developing a biomimetic 3D printed nanocomposite scaffold with a parallel set of differentiation cues for improved bone and osteochondral tissue regeneration. Our approach is to combine novel hydrogel-clay nanocomposite and bioactive factors and advanced 3D printing. We have successfully fabricated a series of novel constructs that feature a gradient scaffold concept designed to ‘select and capture’ stem cells for differentiation into specific cellular phenotypes. Our second approach is to produce 3D printed nanocomposite scaffolds with functionalized surfaces that possess improved mechanical properties as well as excellent cytocompatibility for enhanced human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation in vitro.
2.What sparked your interest to work with 3D Bioprinting?
My research group has a long history of working with hydrogels for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. We pioneered many new 3D printed medical devices combing halloysite nanotubes and biodegradable bioplastics. These 3D printed beads, IUDs, pessaries, stents, etc. combined antibiotics, anti-tumor drugs and hormones and bioplastics to forms composite possessing a superior combination of strength, versatility and enhanced drug delivery. I saw the opportunity 3D bioprinting offered in the control over the fabrication process and ability to design biomimetic tissues with added functionalities. For example, the ability to treat a bone infection wile simultaneously regenerating new bone.
3.What future projects are you hoping to use CELLINK technology for?
We are taking a bottom-up approach towards the fabrication of an engineered periosteum that by design is a supportive cell substrate that can be augmented with different cell types, matrix cues, growth factors, and/or other small molecule drugs to expedite the process of proliferation, differentiation, and histogenesis. We have developed a biodegradable nanosprayed membrane that will act as anchoring material for a 3D printed mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) progenitor cell sheet that together will form a functional periosteal membrane that may be used for bone regeneration. Our three-dimensional periosteal surrogate is composed of a synthetic, tunable, hydrated and degradable cambrial and fibrous membranes.
4.What do you find to be most exciting about working with 3D Bioprinting?
You can easily see the distinct advantages of this technology. With autonomously driven vehicles just on the horizon the current source for many organ donations – traffic deaths-will significantly decrease. There will not be enough donors and bioprinting could be an excellent fast and life-saving solution. I am excited by the potential of our work in creating new bioinks that can assist in constructing living tissue.