Never a dull moment in the 3D printing and bioprinting field, scientists are moving forward on cell-friendly bioinks.
On board for discussion during the 3D Medical Expo at MECC in Maastricht, The Netherlands in late January: cartilage regeneration and biomimetic scaffolds.
“It’s still in its early stages,” Dr. Marcy Zenobi-Wong said in an interview with MedicalExpo during the event. She leads the Cartilage Engineering + Regeneration research team at ETH Zurich, one of the leading technical universities in the world.
During her presentation, “BioPrinting Cartilage,” she spoke of “bioinks based on regulatory-compliant polysaccharides being developed which undergo cell-friendly gelation and yield a strong, ductile material.” They’re now making bioinks more tissue-specific and bioactive by adding micronized extracellular matrix particles to the mix.
The bioink supports proliferation and deposition of matrix proteins. This versatile bioprinting method can produce patient-specific cartilage grafts with good mechanical and biological properties.
Mixing Cells with Bioink
“We’re working on facial reconstruction,” Zenobi-Wong explained her team’s current research on bioprint solutions for those missing a part of their ear or nose from trauma or cancer. The steps begin with a biopsy of the patient’s tissue.
You need to start with cells from the patient. Isolate the cells from the biopsy, put them in culture in order to have a large number and then mix them with, what we call, bioink. The shape would be based on the CT.
Her team is moving forward on a bioprint solution for microtia which would “replace surgical procedures.” They also founded the company CellSpring which develops 3D printed microtissues for drug screening.