With a new process developed at TU Wien (Vienna), living cells can be integrated into fine structures created in a 3D printer — extremely fast and with very high resolution.
Tissue growth and the behavior of cells can be controlled and investigated particularly well by embedding the cells in a delicate 3D framework. This is achieved using additive 3D printing methods — so-called “bioprinting” techniques. However, this involves a number of challenges: Some methods are very imprecise or only allow a very short time window in which the cells can be processed without being damaged. In addition, the materials used must be cell-friendly during and after the 3D bioprinting process. This restricts the variety of possible materials.
A high-resolution bioprinting process with completely new materials has now been developed at TU Wien (Vienna): Thanks to a special “bio ink” for the 3D printer, cells can now be embedded in a 3D matrix printed with micrometer precision — at a printing speed of one meter per second, orders of magnitude faster than previously possible.