rian Krassenstein, writing in 3Dprint.com, goes deeper into the recent paper in Engineering in Life Sciences journal discussing the impact 3D bioprinting will have in the field of medicine.
As several companies are already printing living human tissue, it’s only a matter of time before many ailments can be halted via this incredible technology. Although much research still needs to be done, and experts in many different fields will need to work together for a common cause, ultimately we will one day be transplanting entire 3D printed human organs into individuals who likely would have otherwise perished.
Bioprinting is defined as the three-dimensional printing of biological tissue and organs through the layering of living cells. This means that not only can animal tissue be printed, but so too can plant tissue, or perhaps even a combination of both animal and plant cells via a coculturization process.
Researchers at the Institute of Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering, Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), in Dresden, Germany have teamed with the Centre for Translational Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Research, at the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine at TUD to do just that – 3D print algae-laden hydrogel scaffolds for possible medical applications and uses with 3D printed human tissue.
First the researchers had to prove that it was possible to 3D print growing, living microalgae. To do this they mixed an alginate-based hydrogel with the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The mixture was placed into a cartridge and used within a 3-channel dosing system. Then it was deposited layer by layer onto a platform via a pneumatic dosing control system at a rate of approximately 10mm/sec. From there the 3D printed hydrogel/algae mixture was incubated under light at room temperature for several days. As hoped, the printed material gradually became green as the algae grew, releasing oxygen into the surrounding environment.
Such applications may have staggering implications on the health and energy fields as well, including healthier foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals that cater toward inflammation, bacteria, and even cancer.