A French start-up has developed unique technology for 4D laser bioprinting of living tissue. This is a promising system for a tissue engineering market worth an estimated 15 billion dollars.
Poietis has pulled off an extraordinary gamble: to design living tissue – cell layer by cell layer – just like printed objects. It has achieved this via a 3D laser printer, which uses cells and biomaterial instead of paper and ink. “We’re developing research carried out by the laser-assisted tissue engineering unit at the INSERM/University of Bordeaux tissue bioengineering laboratory, exploiting exclusive 3D bioprinting technology,” explains Fabien Guillemot, Poietis’s CEO and CSO. His company set up in September 2014 is based in Pessac, near Bordeaux. It is developing and exploiting laser-assisted 3D bioprinting technology. Modulab – the laser printer developed by Guillemot – is protected by 3 patents based on the laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) technique.
This automaton has a near infra-red pulse laser source and a focus system to adjust the ejecta size. A laser is beamed through a transparent slide coated with an absorbent layer, enabling light energy to be converted into kinetic energy. A thin matrix layer, containing the component to be printed and a recipient substrate, is positioned a few microns away from the first slide. Laser pulses are programmed to be sent approximately every nanosecond. This generates inkjets (cell-containing mini-droplets), which are deposited layer by layer. “In this system, we control the physical ejection conditions – energy and viscosity – as well as droplet volume to around picolitre accuracy,” says Guillemot. The biological ink cartridge scans quickly, generating over 10,000 droplets a second with a resolution of 20 µm. A few minutes is enough to make a biological structure 1 cm2 and 200-300 µm thick. This process is called 4D bioprinting since it utilises a fourth dimension: time. Once tissue is printed, the cells need time to communicate and self-assemble.Read more
Source: European Medical Device Technology, emdt.co.uk