Scientists at the University of Bristol have developed a new kind of bio-ink, which could eventually allow the production of complex tissues for surgical implants.
The new stem cell-containing bio ink allows 3D printing of living tissue, known as bio-printing.
The new bio-ink contains two different polymer components: a natural polymer extracted from seaweed, and a sacrificial synthetic polymer used in the medical industry, and both had a role to play. The synthetic polymer causes the bio-ink to change from liquid to solid when the temperature is raised, and the seaweed polymer provides structural support when the cell nutrients are introduced.
Lead researcher Dr Adam Perriman, from the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, said: “Designing the new bio-ink was extremely challenging. You need a material that is printable, strong enough to maintain its shape when immersed in nutrients, and that is not harmful to the cells. We managed to do this, but there was a lot of trial and error before we cracked the final formulation.” Read more