A novel support material for 3D bioprinting and post-printing tissue growth: "Print and Grow"

Title A novel support material for 3D bioprinting and post-printing tissue growth: "Print and Grow"
Acronym Print and Grow
Website https://levenberglab.net.technion.ac.il/
Start date 2022-10-01
End date 2023-04-30
Sponsor European Research Council - Proof of Concept (ERC-PoC)
Institution Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Associated cell lines


Project Description

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting holds great promise for tissue engineering, with extrusion bioprinting in suspended hydrogels becoming the leading bioprinting technique in recent years. In this method, living cells are incorporated within bioinks, extruded layer by layer into a granular support material and undergo gelation through diverse cross-linking mechanisms. It offers high fidelity and precise fabrication of complex structures based on the living tissue properties, however the transition of cell mass mixed with the bioink into functional native-like tissue requires post-printing cultivation in vitro. An often-overlooked drawback of 3D bioprinting is the non-uniform shrinkage and deformation of printed constructs during the post-printing tissue maturation period. This leads to highly-variable and unpredictable engineered constructs, posing a challenge for the technology to meet applicative requirements. We propose to develop a novel technology of "Print and Grow", 3D bioprinting into a specially-designed microgel aimed to enhance the long-term structural stability of the printed objects by providing structural support and a possibility for live monitoring during tissue maturation. Our preliminary testing of the “Print and Grow” method demonstrated accurate bioprinting with high tissue viability while preserving the construct shape and size, unlike current state of the art approaches. We aim to optimize the support material properties and develop scalable and reproducible fabrication techniques. We also plan to test the “Print and Grow” for a wide range of tissue types and adjust the microgel according to specific tissue requirements. Finally, we will study the in vivo transplantation possibility of the tissue generated through the “Print and Grow” process. The results of our proof of concept project may lead to emergence of universal and user-friendly 3D bioprinting technology for regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cultured meat industry.