May 30, 2017 | By Tess

A team of researchers from 3Dynamic Systems has developed a novel 3D bioprinting method that could be used in the field of reconstructive medicine, specifically to treat Microtia, a congenital deformity of the external ear. The bioprinting technique uses a dual in-situ crosslinking process and polymer bioinks to create high-resolution tissue structures.

The research paper, entitled “Dual in situ crosslinking of polymer bioinks for 3D tissue biofabrication,” was recently published in the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine and was authored by 3Dynamic Systems founder Dr. Daniel J. Thomas.

Thomas was inspired to develop the bioprinting technology for Microtia treatment after writing an article titled “Could 3D bioprinted tissues offer future hope for microtia treatment?” After the article’s publication, 3Dynamic Systems received an influx of messages and requests from people with Microtia or parents whose children were born with the deformity who were excited about the prospect of a revolutionary new type of treatment.

Because of all the people who reached out about the topic, Thomas decided to focus his company’s efforts on developing the bioprinting technology. “We decided to concentrate on developing this technology the best way that we could,” he explained. “This meant that rather than focusing on developing bioprinting technology as a means of turning a quick profit, we decided to evolve and now focus on research that would do what is important, to develop treatments for those who need it.”

In developing its bioprinting tech, 3Dynamic Systems has three main goals: to engineer new hybrid hydrogels capable of high resolution deposition, to use in-situ crosslinking to make sure that 3D bioprinted structures retain their complex geometries in culture conditions, and to ensure that 3D bioprinted structures are capable of producing initial cartilage progenitor systems.

The company’s recently patented in-situ bioprinting technology uses two syringe drivers, one filled with a bioink containing 35 million Chondrocyte cells per milliliter, and the other filled with calcium chloride (CaCl 2). The second syringe is used to crosslink the hydrogel-based bioink throughout the printing process. The printing process itself is achieved by using a direct dual-extrusion technology.

Once the bioprinted structure (in this case, an ear) is complete, it is moved to an agitation incubator, which maintains the tissue structure and provides the time for “post process tissue maturation.” The ear is then placed into a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymer mold, which ensures that the bioprinted geometry is kept up throughout maturation. As the research shows, the 3D bioprinted ear was able to maintain live cells for three weeks of culture.

Of course, there is still some work to be done before anyone can expect to have a bioprinted ear transplanted onto their head. Still, 3Dynamic Systems’ research is significant and is laying the groundwork for future regenerative and reconstructive treatments.

“3D Bioprinting technology is potentially a very powerful application of automated tissue engineering,” said Dr. Thomas. “By understanding tissue maturation processes, this can also allow for novel tissue structures to be generated. We are now going one stage further and are now focussing on a new process called laser 3D bioprinting. This new process will supersede traditional old school syringe-based bioprinting technology and will surely push bioprinting technology even further. It is our objective of one day developing our research, which could help others.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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