Technology of bioprinting in situ, which involves 3D printing of biocompatible structures and tissues directly in the body, has demonstrated steady progress in the last few years. In a recent study, a group of scientists developed a portable bioprinter that eliminates the key limitations of previous developments: it can be used to print with several materials and control the physical and chemical properties of printed fabrics.
The emergence of regenerative medicine has led to a significant improvement in the lives of patients around the world due to the replacement, restoration or regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. This is a promising solution to the problems of the shortage of donors and the risks associated with transplantation. One of the main achievements in this area is bioprinting on the spot (or "in situ") – continuation of 3D-printing technology, which is used for direct synthesis of tissues and organs in the human body. Bioprinting demonstrates great potential for facilitating the recovery and regeneration of defective tissues and organs.
Despite significant progress in this area, currently used in situ bioprinting technologies are not without limitations. For example, some devices are compatible only with certain types of bioink, while others can only create small sections of tissue at a time. In addition, their construction is usually complex, which makes them inaccessible at a price and limits their use.
In a new study, a group of scientists including Eric Pagan and Associate Professor Mohsen Akbara from the University of Victoria in Canada developed a portable in situ bioprinter with a convenient modular design that allows printing complex biocompatible structures. "Twenty years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which eventually led to her breast being removed. This significantly affected her well-being. Technology such as portable bioprinting can not only help in the development of personalized implants for breast reconstruction that match the shape and size of the patient's tissues, but can also be used to create tumor models to study the biology of breast cancer. Such an application can significantly improve treatment results”, – says Akbary, talking about the motives that prompted the ego to conduct research.
In situ bioprinting can allow direct to synthesize tissues and organs within the body. Author: Pagan et al.
The key feature of the portable device is the presence of several bio-ink cartridges, each of which is independently controlled by a pneumatic system. Thanks to this, the operator of the device has wide control over the printing mixture, which facilitates the creation of structures with the required properties. In addition, the device is equipped with a cooling module and a photo-curing module on light-emitting diodes, which provide additional control.
The in situ bioprinter can be used in different ways. Professor Akbary explains: "It is suitable for the restoration of large defects caused by injuries, surgical operations or cancer, which requires the creation of large-scale tissue structures. In the long term, this technology can eliminate the need for organ donors, as well as reduce the risks associated with transplantation, which will allow patients to live longer and healthier.
The second potential use of this device – production of drug delivery systems. The operator can create structures that release the exact amount of drugs, as well as cells in certain places of the body. This will make the drugs more effective, minimize the side effects associated with them, and increase their safety. Technology can also speed up the discovery of new drugs, allowing the development of more accurate testing models.
According to scientists, technology can also help in the creation of individual prostheses and orthopedic implants. With the help of a bioprinter, doctors will be able to more accurately and conveniently select the anatomy of the patient's tissues, thereby increasing the functionality and aesthetics of the bioprinted construction.
The study was published in the journal Biofabrication.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116