Additive manufacturing, otherwise known as three-dimensional (3D) printing, is driving major innovations in many areas, such as engineering, manufacturing, art, education and medicine. Recent advances have enabled 3D printing of biocompatible materials, cells and supporting components into complex 3D functional living tissues. 3D bioprinting is being applied to regenerative medicine to address the need for tissues and organs suitable for transplantation. Compared with non-biological printing, 3D bioprinting involves additional complexities, such as the choice of materials, cell types, growth and differentiation factors, and technical challenges related to the sensitivities of living cells and the construction of tissues. Addressing these complexities requires the integration of technologies from the fields of engineering, biomaterials science, cell biology, physics and medicine. 3D bioprinting has already been used for the generation and transplantation of several tissues, including multilayered skin, bone, vascular grafts, tracheal splints, heart tissue and cartilaginous structures. Other applications include developing high-throughput 3D-bioprinted tissue models for research, drug discovery and toxicology.
A challenge for tissue engineering is producing three-dimensional (3D), vascularized cellular constructs of clinically relevant size, shape and structural integrity. We present an integrated tissue-organ printer (ITOP) that can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue constructs of any shape. Mechanical stability is achieved by printing cell-laden hydrogels together with biodegradable polymers in integrated patterns and anchored on sacrificial hydrogels. The correct shape of the tissue construct is achieved by representing clinical imaging data as a computer model of the anatomical defect and translating the model into a program that controls the motions of the printer nozzles, which dispense cells to discrete locations. The incorporation of microchannels into the tissue constructs facilitates diffusion of nutrients to printed cells, thereby overcoming the diffusion limit of 100-200 μm for cell survival in engineered tissues. We demonstrate capabilities of the ITOP by fabricating mandible and calvarial bone, cartilage and skeletal muscle. Future development of the ITOP is being directed to the production of tissues for human applications and to the building of more complex tissues and solid organs.
Many drugs have progressed through preclinical and clinical trials and have been available – for years in some cases – before being recalled by the FDA for unanticipated toxicity in humans. One reason for such poor translation from drug candidate to successful use is a lack of model systems that accurately recapitulate normal tissue function of human organs and their response to drug compounds. Moreover, tissues in the body do not exist in isolation, but reside in a highly integrated and dynamically interactive environment, in which actions in one tissue can affect other downstream tissues. Few engineered model systems, including the growing variety of organoid and organ-on-a-chip platforms, have so far reflected the interactive nature of the human body. To address this challenge, we have developed an assortment of bioengineered tissue organoids and tissue constructs that are integrated in a closed circulatory perfusion system, facilitating inter-organ responses. We describe a three-tissue organ-on-a-chip system, comprised of liver, heart, and lung, and highlight examples of inter-organ responses to drug administration. We observe drug responses that depend on inter-tissue interaction, illustrating the value of multiple tissue integration for in vitro study of both the efficacy of and side effects associated with candidate drugs.
Biomaterials play a critical role in the engineering of new functional genitourinary tissues for the replacement of lost or malfunctioning tissues. They provide a temporary scaffolding to guide new tissue growth and organization and may provide bioactive signals (e.g., cell-adhesion peptides and growth factors) required for the retention of tissue-specific gene expression. A variety of biomaterials, which can be classified into three types--naturally derived materials (e.g., collagen and alginate), acellular tissue matrices (e.g., bladder submucosa and small-intestinal submucosa), and synthetic polymers [e.g., polyglycolic acid, polylactic acid, and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)]--have proved to be useful in the reconstruction of a number of genitourinary tissues in animal models. Some of these materials are currently being used clinically for genitourinary applications. Ultimately, the development or selection of appropriate biomaterials may allow the engineering of multiple types of functional genitourinary tissues.
The goal of tissue engineering is to mitigate the critical shortage of donor organs via in vitro fabrication of functional biological structures. Tissue engineering is one of the most prominent examples of interdisciplinary fields, where scientists with different backgrounds work together to boost the quality of life by addressing critical health issues. Many different fields, such as developmental and molecular biology, as well as technologies, such as micro- and nanotechnologies and additive manufacturing, have been integral for advancing the field of tissue engineering. Over the past 20 years, spectacular advancements have been achieved to harness nature's ability to cure diseased tissues and organs. Patients have received laboratory-grown tissues and organs made out of their own cells, thus eliminating the risk of rejection. However, challenges remain when addressing more complex solid organs such as the heart, liver, and kidney. Herein, we review recent accomplishments as well as challenges that must be addressed in the field of tissue engineering and provide a perspective regarding strategies in further development.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.