3D BioPrinting

3D bioprinting components include:

  • Bioinks: These are the printable materials containing living cells and other biomaterials. They serve as the building blocks for creating 3D cellular models.
  • Printer: Specialized 3D printers used in bioprinting allow precise control over the placement of cells and biomaterials.
  • Software: Optimal software has the ability to design custom 3D printed structures by programming bioinks into specific patterns. Software should also ensure custom workflows can be stitched with other tasks.

Potential for Emerging 3D Bioprinting Applications

The advent of 3D bioprinting has ushered in a new era in biomedical engineering, offering transformative solutions across tissue engineering, drug developmentdisease modeling, personalized medicine, and regenerative therapy. This innovative technology enables the precise fabrication of functional biological structures, revolutionizing research and healthcare with its potential to address critical challenges and enhance therapeutics.

  • Tissue Engineering: Bioprinting holds the potential to revolutionize the field of tissue engineering by creating functional miniature organs or “organoids” that can be used to study biological structures. This has the potential to address the shortage of true representative models of in vivo structure and function.
  • Drug Testing and Development: Bioprinted models can be used for drug testing to provide more accurate representation of how drugs will behave in the human body compared to traditional cell cultures. This can potentially reduce the need for animal testing and improve the efficiency of drug development.
  • Disease Modeling: Bioprinting allows the creation of realistic models that represent human tissues and organs which can provide researchers with a better understanding of diseases and enable the development of targeted treatments.
  • Personalized Medicine: The ability to create tissues and organs with a patient's own cells opens the door to personalized medicine. This can lead to treatments tailored to an individual's unique genetic makeup and reduce the risk of potential drug failures.
  • Regenerative Medicine: Bioprinting can contribute to regenerative medicine by providing a means to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs. Although their applicability has not been addressed in humans, they have the potential to enhance the body's natural healing processes. They may act as an important bridge between preclinical and clinical studies if protocols can be cleared to enable the vast and direct use of this technology in regenerative medicine.

Bioprinting assay workflow

  1. Cell suspension preparation: Cells are harvested and counted to be resuspended in cell culture medium in required concentration.
  2. Bioink preparation: Assay-specific extracellular matrix is mixed with cell suspension in necessary concentrations and specific temperatures.
  3. Printing in microplate wells: The robotic arm’s printhead “hand” prints out the bioink with cells into the cell culture plates.
  4. Incubate and add media: Printed structures are incubated on the stage or incubator based on temperature and time requirements. The cells in structures are fed with growth factor media specific to the cell line and assay conditions.
  5. Media exchange and monitoring of the 3D cellular model formation: Cells are fed periodically to replenish the depleted nutrients. These cells in structures are incubated and grown while acclimatizing for further assay steps.
  6. Reagent addition: Various reagents—for example, growth factors, drugs or even dyes—are added when required in the workflow for growth, drug screening or biomarker-based imaging.
  7. Endpoint assays, imaging, and analysis: Final steps of the assay workflow are carried out to collect relevant data. The data collected is then analyzed using standard or customized methods.
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