Towards lab-made organ transplants using new volumetric bioprinting technique
Every year, many patients in list to receive organ transplants, do not survive the waiting period. This problem could be solved in the future using bioprinted materials coming from the lab.
Dr. Riccardo Levato, researcher in biofabrication and regenerative medicine at the UMC Utrecht, developed a new technology called "volumetric bioprinting". This method uses photosensitive gels and laser lights to print 3D objects faster than ever before: "Something that takes an hour to be printed with a classic 3D printer, can be done in 30 seconds with this printer", Riccardo said.
This technology can improve cell survival in bioprinted materials, thus opening new possibilities for transplants in the future. In addition, it makes also possible to grow copies of tissues from patients, to predict outcomes of different treatments.
"Our technical knowledge about the printer is developing faster than our knowledge about the biology of printed tissue. The challenge we face now is to understand how cells behave in a printed 3D object. Which nutrients and additives should we add or remove in order for the cells to behave the way we envision them? It's a promising technique, but we still have a lot of questions to answer." Riccardo added.