Scientists develop oxygen-releasing bioink for bioprinting

Published on September 14, 2020 by Carlota V.

The field of bioprinting has experienced multiple breakthroughs in recent years, one of which is the possibility to generate tissue structures using bioinks and 3D bioprinters. One of the main hurdles in this field is keeping these tissues alive. As you know, oxygen is delivered through blood vessels in the body, however these blood vessels take a few days to develop in a transplanted tissue, giving enough time for the tissue to die. To overcome this limitation, scientists at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) in Los Angeles have developed a bioink that generates oxygen to keep cells alive. The scientists explain that this bioink will enhance the ability of implanted cells to grow and regenerate the new bioprinted tissue.

This could potentially accelerate many of the attempts to keep tissue structures alive, if not fully functional bioprinted organs alive one day. On the TIBI website, you can read: “This bioink can generate oxygen and deliver it to cells in 3D printed tissues to keep them alive before blood vessels penetrate the tissue. Therefore, when it is used in 3D bioprinting to construct tissue implants, the ability of cells to regenerate new tissue is greatly enhanced.

At the institute, the group of scientists tested their oxygen-generating bioink extensively to optimize its chemical and physical properties. Their aim was to observe blood vessels developing thanks to the oxygen that was delivered to the cells. The group also conducted separate experiments on tissue constructs using two different types of cells, including cardiac cells and muscle cells. “By delivering oxygen to the implanted cells, we would be able to improve the tissue functionality and integration to the host tissue. A similar approach can be used to make functional tissues with improved survival for drug screening applications and pathophysiological studies within a long period of time,” commented Samad Ahadian, Ph.D., lead investigator of the Terasaki Institute team.

If viable, these developments can result in a variety of medical applications, including the enhancement of tissue regeneration in patients who have suffered a heart attack. During a heart attack, the heart is without sufficient supply of oxygen for a period of time. Therefore, there may be damage or a higher risk of harm to parts of their cardiac tissue. One possible application is generating tissue implants using the new bioink to increase the survival of the affected cardiac cells, but also help support the growth and formation of the cardiac blood vessels. You can find more information HERE.

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