Tissue Engineering & 3D Printing

A professor at the Tshwane University of Technology states that the three necessary components of tissue engineering are “signals for morphogenesis, stem cells that respond to morphogens and scaffolds that are biomimetic of the extracellular matrix to create human spare parts.” In order for a bioprinter to be a useful tool in human tissue engineering work, it needs to be able to commission a biomimetic extracellular structure.

The 3D-Bioplotter® plots scaffolding out of organic materials for the purpose of supporting intracellular processes and function within a supportive structure. The bioprinter system uses a scaffolding technique to achieve a “biomimetic” reaction. Rather than placing spheroids of cells, the Bioplotter prints a much smaller amount of cells into the 3D scaffold shape.

“After some time, the cells will have multiplied and digested the scaffold material, created its own ECM [extracellular matrix], which holds the 3D shape in place and thus creates a scaffold-free part,” says EnvisionTEC’s bioprinting expert Dr. Carlos Carvalho.  “For [the EnvisionTEC Bioplotter] we use an otherwise unheard policy in 3D printing: our customers have complete freedom in the choice of materials they wish to use.”

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Learn more about the Bioplotter here.

Dr. Montaug believes that tissue engineering is an imperative research sector to combat organ shortages and organ rejection. Instead of waiting for an organ replacement from a closely-matched donor, patients in need could feasibly grow a replacement organ from their own cells — more quickly and with greater viability.

The process of implanting living cells within a biomimetic organic scaffolding has been employed in several research laboratories aimed at developing tissue replacements for patients. Dr. Ramille Shah, head of SHAH Lab at Northwestern University, uses a 3D-Bioplotter heavily in her research developing viable bone tissue for transplants as well as a new class of 3D printed materials which she dubs “bio-inks”.

Other clients have found success using Perfactory® series 3D printers. Dr. David Dean at Ohio State University uses a Perfactory for constructing craniofacial tissues. Dr. Rocky Tuan at the University of Pittsburgh works with his Perfactory building living cells with the light-based technology. Tuan has made recent advancements in the field of tissue engineering with living joint cartilage as well as skin grafts for burn victims.

Read about Dr. Tuan’s work with 3D printed tissues.

Interested in 3D bioprinting from EnvisionTEC? Contact us today.

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