3D-printing method produces living tissue for regenerative medicine

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Researchers from the University of Oxford have developed a new 3D-printing method to improve how laboratory-grown cells form living structures. Explained in Scientific Reports, the new method aims to change regenerative medicine by producing complex tissues and cartilage capable of supporting or repairing damaged areas in the body.

This study described a new method of additive printing, led by Hagan Bayley, professor of chemical biology in Oxford University, that allows cells to mimic or enhance natural tissue.

“We were aiming to fabricate 3D living tissues that could display the basic behaviors and physiology found in natural organisms,” said Alexander Graham, lead author and 3D booprinting scientist at OxSyBio (Oxford Synthetic Biology). “To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues, which have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells including stem cells.”

Researchers used cells with protective nanoliter droplets wrapped in a lipid coating, layered on top of one another, to produce living structures. These printed tissues allow for the artificial tissue to mimic natural tissue. With further development, researchers believe the regenerative tissue could be used to reproduce human tissue models for clinical testing.

“The bioprinting approach developed with Oxford University is very exciting, as the cellular constructs can be printed efficiently at extremely high resolution with very little waste,” said Adam Perriman from the University of Bristol. “The ability to 3D print with adult stem cells and still have them differentiate was remarkable, and really shows the potential of this new methodology to impact regenerative medicine globally.”