3D Bioprinting is the branch of 3D printing which prints three-dimensional tissues and organs from specially formulated bioinks. The bioinks are made from a mixture of chemicals, stem-cells, or living cells. The actual printing is carried out in a gel-like base made from collagen, gelatin, hyaluronan, silk, alginate or nanocellulose.
We study some of the recent accomplishments in 3D bioprinting.
1. 3D Bioprinting in Seconds
Scientists at EPFL’s School of Engineering, Switzerland and University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands have developed a new bioprinting system which can print complex highly viable living tissue in, literally, “just a few seconds.”
The scientists used volumetric bioprinting to form tissues by projecting a laser down a spinning tube containing hydrogel full of stem cells.
The volumetric printing method was developed by the researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) which brings down the printing time to 10 seconds. LLNL collaborated with UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in this monumental research.
2. Israeli Researchers Unveil World’s First 3D Bioprinted Heart with Human Tissue
Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University unveiled a 3D printed heart with human tissue and vessels. The researchers call it a first and a “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.
While the real-world application is still a far-away reality, but the researchers hope that one day such hearts will be compatible for being transplanted into humans as well as patches to regenerate defective hearts.
3. IIT Guwahati Scientists create 3D Printing Bioink from Muga Silk for developing Tissues & Implants
A team of scientists from one of India’s premier technical institute, IIT Guwahati, have created a 3D printing bioink with live cells using proteins from Muga silk, a variety of wild silk geographically tagged to the state of Assam in India. The team has applied for a patent for the bioink made from Muga silk protein.
This bioink can be used to 3D bioprinting of tissues, implants and even organs at relatively lower costs. The research may help bridge the gap between patients requiring organ implants and healthy donors.
4. Newcastle University Scientists 3D Bioprint the World’s First Human Cornea
A new research by scientists from Newcastle University published in Experimental Eye Research, have successfully 3D bioprinted the world’s first human cornea paving the way for a world free of blindness.
Cornea forms an important part of an eye as it is responsible for focussing the vision. According to estimates, there is a substantial shortage of corneas with around 15 million people requiring cornea transplant to prevent corneal blindness.
Following this research, the scientists can now create a bio-ink by mixing human corneal stromal cells from a healthy donor cornea together with alginate and collagen that can be 3D printed.
3D Bioprinting is revolutionising the way healthcare is delivered to patients. Due to 3D bioprinting, we are witnessing a customisation wave in healthcare as well which will only get better, quicker and effective as the time goes by.
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