It has been over 20 years that the world of medicine received some life changing services, technologies and machineries with the help of 3D printing. These machines and technical support helps in easing the complex clinical or medical procedures.
What is 3D bio-printing ?
This technology is utilized to reconstruct tissue from various regions of the body. This technology can be applied for muscle tissue, bone, skin and cartilage. Several questions have been raised questioning if bio-printing is ethical, so the explanation to that is for conducting experimental procedures involving humans, in the case of 3D bio printing all the procedures involved with this is completely ethical and legal.
With the help of this process we can combine or join cells, growth factors, and biomaterials to fabricate biomedical parts that maximally imitate natural tissue characteristics. In 3D bio printing a layer by layer process is utilized to create tissues which can later be used for tissue engineering. In current times bio-printing is mostly applicable for printing tissues and cells and also in aiding several drug making processes, however new additions in this technology has given rise to a process in which the cells or extracellular matrix is deposited into a 3D gel layer by layer to produce the desired tissue or organ.
Bio-printing included a wide range of bio materials hence customization and choices are never the issue that this process brings out. Bio printing is also used nowadays to print scaffolds and these scaffolds can be used to regenerate tissues and ligaments.
The entire process of bio printing is divided into three steps or subdivisions namely pre-bio printing, bio printing, and post-bio printing. The following information will clear out the conception of these three distinct steps-
Pre-bio printing- it is the process in which the materials are decided which will be used in the bio printing. The design is drafted and a biopsy is obtained (the biopsy is obtained in order to study the organ). Some of the very commonly used technologies are computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In order to receive a layer on layer design, tomographic reconstruction is done on the images. A 2D picture is sent to the device to get printed and once the picture gets printed some of the cells are isolated and then multiplied. These cells are then mixed with liquefied material that provides oxygen and other nutrients which helps them to stay alive. Then these cells are encapsulated in cellular spheroids, which are 500μm in diameter.
Bio-printing: the liquid mixture of the cells and the nutrients called the bioinks are placed in a printer cartridge. Then this mixture is deposited using the patients medical scan. After a bio printed pre-tissue is kept into an incubator it gradually matures into a tissue. When organs are made using 3D printing like liver, kidneys, blood vessels etc. Evidently lack certain crucial elements and this in turn affects our body in several ways such as working blood vessels, tubules for collecting urine, and the growth of billions of cells required for these organs. If our body lacks these components it is not possible that our system will be getting ample of oxygen to reach it’s interior parts. Few methods used in 3D bio-printing are photolithography, magnetic 3D bio printing, stereo lithography, and direct cell extrusion.
This process holds a lot of importance as this process is responsible for creating a stable and strong structure for the biological material. If this process is not properly performed then the quality of the biological component produced is at risk. In order to avoid such a situation both chemical and mechanical stimulations are required. These stimulations are quite integral as They send signals to the cells to regulate their growth. In recent times bioreactor technologies have made the process of maturation way more quick and has also allowed vascularization of tissues and the ability to survive transplants.
Ample of advancements in this field have been made in order to ease the process of bio printing. The loopholes are also being worked upon to reduce the chances of any malfunctioning it disputes. It is pretty important to understand and learn about the bio-printing world as this field hold a lot of significance in changing and enhancing the face of medical sciences.