Organ donation is required. Those currently carried out are not enough to cover the demand of those who are on the waiting list, who, in many cases, die without being able to receive the long-awaited organ that they so badly need to be able to prolong their life.
Currently, only in the United States there are about 70 thousand people actively waiting for a donor, a situation that with bio-printing they hope in the future to be able to solve in the sense of providing a patient with the possibility of receiving a kidney that has been developed from living cells by 3D printing.
However, the problem present in bio-printing, and for which it has not yet been able to be put at the service of this cause, is that the organs generated with this technology can only be implanted in the patient by surgery, a process that may involve the realization of large incisions, which could put the patient at risk of contracting infections and a long recovery time.
Added to this is the time it would take for the implant to be completely printed, which will cause a delay in surgery and a reduction in the patient’s chances of life due to waiting.
However, a group of researchers from Ohio State University seem to have found a way to remedy this situation.
Through a study published in the journal Biofabrication Researchers have proposed a bioprinting technique supported by living cells suspended in a gel, which they claim would be safe for use inside people, thereby making possible the 3D printing directly on the body.
Thanks to this innovation, doctors could have the opportunity to stimulate the production of living cells within the patient through the application of slightly invasive surgical techniques with which only small incisions would be required, making this a safer and faster method with respect to major surgery.
Solution to the obstacles of 3D bio-printing
However, when it comes to bio-printing, this technique has the peculiarity that the bio-inks involved in the procedure require ultraviolet light to facilitate their solidification, which, although it favors this process, can be harmful to the organs that are exposed to this light.
Added to this is the problem that will arise when trying to effectively couple the printed tissues with the rest of the organs and soft living tissues.
After having carried out an in-depth approach to these factors, the researchers were able to solve them and achieve the creation of a special biotin that reaches its solidification state with the use of visible light.
In this sense, the biotint developed by the researchers has the ability to print depending on the temperature generated within the body.
The mechanical engineer from Ohio State University, David Hoelzle, points out that the old biotinches had difficulty in maintaining their shape at the end of the process, due to how liquid they become when the action of body temperature.
To make this printing possible, the scientists proceeded to use a 3D printing nozzle that was then attached to robotic machinery. This allowed the biotin to be dispensed in a controlled and programmable manner.
The researchers then tested the effectiveness of the biotin by working on soft materials such as raw chicken breast strips and an agar jelly-like gel, piercing these with the nozzle and extruding a small interlocking knob at the pierced site. .
After doing this, the nozzle was slowly withdrawn from the surface as it was dragged behind a filament of material that continued the 3D printing process. In the end, the knobs that were left below the surface favored the anchoring of the printed structure to the body, acting as surgical staples, but with greater flexibility.
In order to promote the immersion of cells in fluids that carry nutrients, oxygen and other molecules, the scientists endowed the bio-imprinted structures with porosity.
Despite the progress made, the scientists point out that their intention is not to bio-imprint entire organs within the body, expressing in a textual way that Even the most traditional methods of delivering tissue engineering materials are years away from this achievement..
Instead, the researchers contemplated the possibility of applying a standard surgery to the patient using a biomaterial with a growth factor attached to activate their healing or a drug to prevent infection.