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Bio-Engineering – Bioprinting

Scaffolds

Currently makeshift 3d printers are becoming high-end bio-printers capable of producing scaffold tissues that can treat burn wound victims or people in need of tissue reconstruction for whatever reason.

Comparison of conventional and modern 3D printed scaffold-based tissue engineering techniques: (A) decellularization, (B) hydrogels, (C) nanofibers, (D) spheroids and hydrogel hybrid bioprinting, (E) 3D scaffold printing, and (F) 3D printed microfluidics chip. Abbreviation: 3D, three-dimensional.
Extracted from (https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Comparison-of-conventional-and-modern-3D-printed-scaffold-based-tissue-engineering_fig3_331220668)

In todays world as we refine each manufacturing process there is a limit to it maximum efficiency. The manufacturing processes used in the last 100 years have evolved remarkably, however the need for human interaction at every stage puts strain on the whole system and can be seen as the weakest link in the chain.

Ever since the dawn of additive manufacturing we have been able to witness reduced human interaction along process of the part being fabricated, this reduces the lag times and can drastically improve the parts overall quality if it is only “one” part process.

Organs

Credit: Science Photo Library

Printing full organs are also a possibility however there are many issues related to actually making the organs functional. At this stage its rather rudimentary, currently only able to reproduce the shape but with a limited number of cell types. For example the heart has 49.2% cardiomyocytes, 21.2% mural cells, 15.5% fibroblasts, 7.8% endothelial cells and 5.3% immune cells. Although they are only a handful of these various cell types the challenge arises of carfully placing them in the correct region from proper functionality.

Not only arranging the cells in their respective sites but ensuring that they are vascularized takes a serious amount of precision and understanding of the cardiac system in that case. Even organ transplants are tricky and we understand that overall mechanisms.

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