3D Bioprinting is a technology where living cells are mixed with Bioinks and are printed in three-dimensional structures so they can represent natural tissue-like structures. Currently, this technology is being utilized in tissue engineering and new drug development. Today our blog will cover what is 3D Bioprinting and how it is used today.
What is 3D Bioprinting? How does it work?
3D Bioprinting is a process where bio-inks are used in the printing of living cells, structured layers are created layer-by-layer that replicate the behavior of real natural tissues. One of the materials known as bio-inks is used in the process of bioprinting which is made of natural biomaterials that are mixed with living cells to create 3D Bioprinting.
The bioprinting technology enables researchers to fully study the functions of the human body in vitro. It is more relevant than in vitro study which uses 2D technology to perform its studies as compared to 3D bioprinting which uses 3D models for more relevance.
3D Bioprinting starts with a model of a structure, which is recreated layer-by-layer using living cells or seeds, which are mixed with the cells after the printing is completed. These starting models can come from anywhere either from a CT, MRI scan, or a computer-generated design. The 3D model file is fed into a “slicer” a specialized computer program that analyzes the geometry of the model and generates thin layers or slices. The shape of the original model is achieved when stacked vertically.
When the process of layering or slicking is completed, data is sent to a path data that converts the data into a specific format that the computer can understand, that format is known as a G-code file, which is sent to the 3D bioprinter for printing. The bioprinter follows the instructions provided by the G-code file to complete the print. Once all the commands are completed for the G-code file, the print is now ready for use and can be cultured or seeded with cells.
Where did it all begin? The history of 3D Bioprinting
3D bioprinting is an old technology and not any new invention it all began in 1980, but was not widely performed, and recently the rapid involving researchers has driven the field forward.
When in 1984 Charles Hull filed the first-ever patent for 3D printing technology, this was the symbol of the start, of 3D printing technology and this served as a base for bioprinting. Bioprinting came into action in 1988 when Robert J. Klebe used an inkjet printer to print cells. After these first steps were taken the technology of bioprinting has constantly evolved and reached new heights and thus bioprinting has become a popular technology.
3D Bioprinting of tissues and organs
Three-dimension Bioprinting plays an important role in regenerative medicine and drug testing which is achieved by tissue engineering, and tissue engineering cannot be possible without 3D bioprinting. Tissue regeneration or the construction of new tissues could help mankind perform new possibly where we could repair or replace damaged tissues or organs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Bioprinting
- The use of 3D Bioprinting allows for mimicking the real structure of real organs and tissues and this can revolutionize the future of medical treatment capabilities.
- The effects of drugs can be examined more deeply to see any side effects of a specific drug.
- Animal testing can be decreased as there will be no need to test on animals.
- The biocompatibility of human organs and tissues can be impossible without 3D bioprinting.
- The process will be consistent and will be without human errors as all the process is completed by machines.
- The technology of 3D Bioprinting will be expensive and not many people will be able to afford it.
- 3D bioprinting technology will consume a lot of energy as all the machines and operators need the energy to work so technology will be energy consuming.
- Maintaining the cell environment can be difficult as once the cells or tissues have -been created it will be difficult to maintain them as they require a specific environment.
3D bioprinters and 3D printers are similar to each other, but 3D printers print solid materials whereas 3D bioprinters print liquid or gel. These are designed to handle complex situations and handle products with care as there is sensitive stuff in the printer. Without creating too much damage and delivering a perfect result. 3D Bioprinters can be laser-assisted, inkjet-based, or extrusion based each of these printers has its pros and cons when talking about price, cell density, cell viability, or resolution.
Future of 3D Bioprinting- Is it Important?
The rapid advancement of technology is happening in our world, and this advancement can also be seen in 3D Bioprinting. Three-dimensional bioprinting can solve many problems in the area of healthcare. Functioning bladders have been created using the patient’s cells using the technology of 3D Bioprinting and have been transplanted into a human body successfully. This has made researchers even more curious, and now they are trying bioprinting on other human organs.
One of the future scenarios of 3D bioprinting can be that there will be no need for donors. And organs could be created using one’s cells, this will help with the compatibility problem, as not all bodies accept foreign organs. This technology can revolutionize the world as it will help in fixing diseases. It is hoped that 3D biotechnology will improve and will enhance medical care and will make it even more efficient than it is today.
Over, 120,000 people are waiting in the US to transplant their organs, this is just a number from the US think how many people are there in this world. These numbers do not go down as there are more patients than donors, so our hopes are bound to 3D bioprinting. Will it help us? Will, are futures be healthier? Well, we cannot answer that but are scientific community has succeeded in bringing researchers, engineers, and physicians to take on the biggest challenge to change and revolutionize the medical industry. Now, this is exciting! As we get to witness a new tool that will help in reducing these numbers and save people’s lives.
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