The experimental, and unregulated, field of Bioprinting (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #120)

Bioprinting is a squishy topic. It sounds good in its sci-fi theory but when you nail down the practical aspects it becomes much more complicated. The research is being done to bring that vision to reality, making over-the-top announcements, from vascular tissues to entire patient-specific heart 3D printing, that mislead the reader into thinking we might already live in the future. However, there are ethical and legal conundrums to consider alongside the technical hurdles. The field is so new that legislators struggle to comprehend what’s being done in the present day, let alone what will be possible tomorrow. Bioprinting is a concoction of frontier fields like stem cells, gene editing, and biocompatible materials. Researchers are taking unorthodox approaches to the problems they face, even employing generative textile designers to design organic structures. There will need to be safety regulations, protocols, all angles still need to be figured out. After all, we’re talking about our bodies, and we don’t want defective software or printing processes to pose any kind of risk.

Nervous System Works with Rice University Researchers 3D Printing Vascular Networks

Nervous System has been heavily engaged in experimenting with 3D and 4D printing of textiles in the past years, and all their research is paying off now as they find themselves engaged in the realm of tissue engineering. Assistant professor Jordan Miller [from Rice University] invited the Nervous System team to join his researchers on an incredible journey to fabricate examples of possible vascular networks via bioprinting—harnessing their knowledge of software and materials to find a way to create soft hydrogels.

Read the article here.

Scientists Create World’s First 3D-Printed Heart Using Patient’s Own Cells

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have successfully printed the world’s first 3D heart using a patient’s own cells and biological materials to “completely match the immunological, cellular, biochemical, and anatomical properties of the patient.” Until now, researchers have only been able to 3D-print simple tissues lacking blood vessels.

“This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process these materials serve as the bioinks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models,” said lead researcher Tal Dvir in a statement.

Read the article here.

Bioprinting: What are the Legal Implications of Defective Design Software?

3D printing has taken off at lightning speed, with innovations emerging around the world continually—and virtually unregulated. While there may be some serious discussions and expectations regarding ownership and common sense regarding designs, most of the legal angles are still in the embryonic stages.

“In the medical 3D bioprinting field, three theories are, in principle, relevant to the protection of the patient against injuries that are attributable to defective CAD software: (i) medical malpractice (a subset of negligence law), (ii) breach of warranty under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and (iii) strict liability,” states researcher Jamil Ammar. “None of these theories, however, adequately address the range of injuries that could potentially arise due to use of defective CAD software.”

Read the full article at 3DPrint.com

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Beyond Bioprinting: The Way Ahead In Biological AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 30)

Welcome to our 30th News In Review for 2017!

We’ve all heard of the 3D printed heart and ear tissue. There is much more to bioprinting than these initial steps and, thanks to new technologies, explorations and endeavors, the road ahead is looking a whole lot more exciting. New technologies enable researchers with nanoscale control of the manufacturing environment, both low-powered and more precise, to create bioprinted scaffolds for a variety of uses. Synthetic biologist will surely make good use of the new tech: 3D printed bioreactors can be manufactured to generate specific kinds of biologic products, like proteins of even antibiotics. Bioprinting is skyrocketing, beyond the confines of our atmosphere. NASA has revealed plans to bring bioprinted cancer cells to the ISS in order to study potential treatments in a controlled, zero-g environment.

Light-directed assembly using gold nano-rods opens up 3D bioprinting applications

Using gold nano rods and near infrared laser for bioprinting

[…] the use of high-powered lasers to pattern micro/nanoscale objects has drawbacks. In particular, the substantial energy required to move material or objects means that high throughput of material is not possible. Now a team at the National University of Singapore have announced another technique to engineer living tissue. In the paper “Effective Light Directed Assembly of Building Blocks with Microscale Control” a method for improving control over the micro structure with light-directed assembly is described. The researchers believe their method could have applications for bioprinting, tissue engineering, and advanced manufacturing. Working with microfluidic-fabricated monodispersed biocompatible microparticles the scientists were able to fabricate a structure.

Check out the rest of the article here.

A better way to make drinks and drugs

Carefully selected molds churn out antibiotics. Specially engineered bacteria, living in high-tech bioreactors, pump out proteinaceous drugs such as insulin. Some brave souls even talk of taking on the petroleum industry by designing yeast or algae that will synthesize alternatives to aviation fuel and the like. Dr Nelson’s bioreactors are composed of a substance called a hydrogel, which is about 70% water. The remaining 30% is a special polymer, infused with yeast. [It can] be extruded smoothly through the nozzle of a 3D printer.The fun starts when such a [hydrogel] cube is plopped into a solution of glucose. The hydrogel is permeable to this solution, so the yeast is able to get to work on the glucose, converting it into ethanol as if it were the sugar in the wort of a brewery. […] The surprise was that it keeps on doing so, day after day, week after week, as long as the fermented solution is regularly replaced with fresh. The team’s bioreactors have continued to produce ethanol in this way for over four months now, with no signs of slowing down.

Read the full article on The Economist’s website.

NASA to take cancer fight into space with bioprinted cells

A BioCell which can contain six samples. Photo via BioServe.

NASA has revealed plans to grow bioprinted cancer cells in space in a bid to advance cancer research. Utilizing the microgravity environment, NASA hopes to the cell structures will grow in a more natural spherical shape. Since, back on earth in vitro the cells have only able been able to grow in two-dimensional layers. However to harness the cells without the presence of gravity, NASA is hoping to employ magnets.

Read more about NASA’s plans here.

 

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