BME Affiliate Dr. Yong Huang was recently interviewed for an article titled, “Print Your Heart Out”, published by American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News (ACS C&EN). The article explores whether 3-D bioprinting will ever be able to replicate organs. In the article, Dr. Huang suggests that one of the biggest challenges researchers have to overcome is figuring out how to create 3-D printed blood vessels.
The reported research is based on Dr. Huang and team’s spotlight paper, “Inkjet Printing of Multidirectional Branching Cellular Tubes”, being published in Wiley’s Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
As a layer-by-layer fabrication process, three dimensional (3D) bioprinting has been explored to fabricate living tissues and organs by using living cells, biologics, and/or biomaterials as building blocks. With ongoing scientific advances in post-printing cellular self-assembly and tissue maturation, 3D bioprinting provides a promising tool for the on-demand fabrication of tissue engineered substitutes, which may be used for customized implantation and as in vitro models for disease detection and drug screening, to name a few. The Huang group at the University of Florida has been developing and modeling inkjetting, modified laser-induced forward transfer, and extrusion-based manufacturing techniques for various bioprinting applications. By implementing a deformation compensation and liquid support-based approach, they are able to print fibroblast-based vascular-like structures with both horizontal and vertical branching features. This represents the first successful freeform fabrication of multidirectional branching vascular-like structures.
Figure from “Freeform inkjet printing of cellular structures with bifurcations,” by Kyle Christensen, Changxue Xu, Wenxuan Chai, Zhengyi Zhang, Jianzhong Fu and Yong Huang, 2015, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, doi: 10.1002/bit.25501. Copyright 2015 by Wiley. Adapted with permission.