There are currently hundreds of thousands of people on waitlist waiting for critical organs like kidneys hearts and livers that could save their lives. Unfortunately there are aren’t enough donor organ available to save their lives. What if instead of waiting we could create brand-new, customized organs from scratch. That’s the idea behind bioprinting, a regenerative medicine branch currently under-developed. It is a biological cousin of 3-D printing.
Due to the advancement of technology, three-dimensional (3D)-printed organs have become a reality. This technology allows precise placement of cells, biomaterials and biomolecules in predefined locations within confined three-dimensional (3D) structures.
3D Bioprinting of Skin Tissue
Skin is also known as first line of defense in the immune system. One of the earliest innovations in this field of bioprinting is creation of artificial skin grafting, that can act as bandage for wound and burn healing.
The process of 3D printing initiates by obtaining a sample of a patient’s own cells to grow and expand outside the body in a sterile incubator. These cells are then fed with nutrients called ‘media’ and mixed with a glue. Even after these processes the biggest challenge faced is the proper functioning of these artificial organs/tissues.
3D Bioprinting of Cardiac Tissue
Cardiac bioprinting also involves the pre-processing, actual printing and post-processing steps. Creation of a 3D model via graphic modeling interphases ( CAD/CAM ) is the first step. Preservation of tissue morphology is one of the major issues faced. The average adult has a resting heart rate of 70–80 bpm, which means that the printed tissue will be undergoing at least 70–80 contraction-relaxation cycles in a minute.
3D Bioprinting of Cartilage Tissue
Articular cartilage is a white tissue that covers the end of the bones. 3D bioprinting technology generates spatial patterns and creates grades of cartilage tissue by controlling the different biomaterial properties and cell types in each print layer.
The use of 3D bioprinting could lead to a personalized treatment for the patient which translates to better clinical outcomes. Despite all the advances in the field, there are still many challenges regarding the biocompatibility and integration of the printed construct with the body.