Novel bioink presents opportunity for bioprinting directly into the body

A collaborative team comprising researchers from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (CA, USA), Ohio State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (OH, USA) and Pennsylvania State University Department of Chemical Engineering (PA, USA) has designed a novel bioink for the direct bioprinting of tissue into the body.

This bioink formulation is 3D printable at physiological temperature and can be crosslinked safely using visible light inside the body,” explained the study’s first author, Ali Asghari (Ohio State University).

Described in Biofabrication, the specially-formulated bioink was used to build tissue by robotic 3D printing. The team then developed strategies for attaching these printed tissues onto soft surfaces, including agarose and raw chicken.

To encourage interlocking between the soft materials and the bioprinted tissues, the robotic 3D printing technique was modified to penetrate the surface of the soft material, depositing the tissue structure along with bioink ‘anchors’ as it withdrew.

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

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The team hopes that this technique could be instrumental in the provisional of safer and less invasive laparoscopic procedures, for example in the repair of tissues and organ defects, with further potential for saving time and associated costs of lengthy procedures. The researchers predict future developments in this area could also lead to additional levels of personalization within tissue engineering.

Developing personalized tissues that can address various injuries and ailments is very important for the future of medicine. 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,” concluded Ali Khademhosseini, Director and CEO of the Terasaki Institute.

This work synergizes with our Personalized Implant Technology Platform at the Terasaki Institute which aims to develop approaches that address the variability in tissue defects in patients.”

Sources: Adib AA, Sheikhi A, Shahhosseini M et al. Direct-write 3D printing and characterization of a GelMA-based biomaterial for intracorporeal tissue engineering. Biofabrication. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/ab97a1 (2020) (Epub ahead of print);

Lead image: Biomaterials implanted directly onto a tissue surface. Image of a 3D lattice structure of a tissue implanted directly onto a soft living tissue. Credit: Ohio State University.

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