Advancing Tissue Engineering: The State of 3D Bioprinting

Research on various aspects of bioprinting is being conducted at numerous facilities throughout the world. Every part of the globe has begun to provide progressive steps for developing specific aspects of the bioprinting process. One of the newer research facilities is located at the University of Iowa (UI), which is working on tissue engineering.

The University’s Mechanical and Industrial Department established its bioprinting lab in 2011. Among other advancements, UI has recently discovered a manner in which organ transplantation and drug testing is completed. According to Dr. Ibrahim Tarik Ozbolat, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, initially they were only able to print cells, “but now we can print tissues and also print the tissues on animals directly.” The major improvement is the result of using 3D printing. Dr. Ozbolat states that bioprinting is the “process of generating spatially controlled cell patterns using 3D printing technologies.” Generally, it involves “a layer-by-layer approach to generate tissue-like 3D structures for use in the medical field of tissue engineering.”

Bioprinted Heart Valve
Thus, bioprinting can make it possible to print everything from simple tissues to entire organs. This results in printed material, known as “biomaterial,” which is stronger than average bodily materials such as soft tissue and even bone. UI has focused its attention on printing blood vessels, pancreatic tissue, bone tissue, and cartilage tissue. By focusing its attention on it, points out Dr. Ozbolat, “We believe we can make functional tissues and organs for transplantation or drug testing using bioprinting.” Their current work centers around developing a “bioprinting bone tissue for cranial defects on rat models.” … (Read more)