European researchers are touting the first melt electrospinning printer that incorporates the use of bio-inks.
The Swiss biomedical company regenHU says it has accomplished a bioprinting first: an electrospinning device able to handle bio-inks, enabling more accurate bioprinting in the process.
The new machine is being housed at the at the Utrecht Biofabrication Facility, a high-tech facility in the Netherlands created by Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht in 2013. The machine's melt electrospinning technology is able to create ultrafine and durable fibers, which can be arranged into mesh-like structures that more closely resemble the complex architectures of actual human tissues. The result is the production of tissue structures with more strength, potentially furthering the goal of creating more replacement tissues and even organs that might be placed in people.
Tissue constructs could also be used to study disease, drug efficacy, and toxicity.
"This new device allows us to build complex tissue constructs with high precision, that are mechanically more stable," Jos Malda, associate professor and head of the Utrecht Biofabrication Facility, said in a news release.
"regenHU has a legacy of experience in machine building and this partnership offers strong support for the biofabrication field," Malda said.
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The next step is to further test out the regenHU 3-D bioprinter when it comes to generating composite materials, determining the performance of the cells used in the bio-inks.
The new bioprinter is but the latest in a number of recent advances in the field:
- Regenerative medicine scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Winston-Salem, NC) announced in February that they have created a custom-designed 3-D printer able to bioprint sophisticated ear, bone, and muscle structures.
- Researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Johns Hopkins University are using a bioprinter that preserves cells better than the traditional scaffold 3-D printing technique, according to a report in TechRepublic. The robotic 3-D printer is called the Regenova. Made by Tokyo-based Cyfuse Biomedical, Regenova places groups of cells called spheroids in fine needle arrays, following pre-designed 3-D data. The cells then bond and fuse into tissue.
- At the AMBER material science center at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, researchers have created a process to support larger and more complex 3-D printing of bone material.
- University of Bristol researchers say they were able to engineer 3-D printed tissue structures including a full-size tracheal cartilage ring over five weeks, using a special bio-ink formulation created after an arduous trial and error process.
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[Image courtesy of regenHU]