In the field of regenerative medicine, 3D printing has not only gained a foothold in manufacturing, but also became more critical and useful. Scientists have made it clear from Rutgers University, USA, that biological tissues show promise in renewable, reliable, and personalized medicine, as well as in the creation and research of essential products. Synthesis of biological bonds such as cells, biomedical polymers, and biology has recently been used in 3D printing for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Biological inkjet technology, for example, uses a technique similar to inkjet printers in which an accurate positioning nozzle places a small dot of ink to form the shape.
The material used in biological inkjet printing is human cells, not ink. Print objects are produced by spraying a mixture of ‘scaffolding materials’ (such as sugar-containing hydrogels) and living tissue growth cells. The tissue is placed in a chamber after printing, provided that the correct temperature and oxygen are used to promote cell growth.
After the cells are joined, the ‘scaffolding material’ is removed, and the tissue is ready for transplant. Moreover, 2D inkjet printing also takes advantage of this technology platform. Biological printing allows extracellular matrix proteins to be inserted to provide a specific matrix for the cell, creating complex cell structures or transferring genes and enzymes into cells. Biological 3D printing, in its purest form, intends to print a cell layer on top of other cells or to create biological material. On the other hand, biological 3D printing will be a tool to promote the creation of complex, multi-cell tissues or organs.
Therefore, biological printing based on thermal inkjet printing is also the most suitable procedure for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications.
Additionally, biological 3D printing is applied to regenerative medicine, addressing the need for transplant-fitting tissues and organs that can give new hope for patients with serious tissue injuries or at the stage of organ failure. While researchers in regenerative medicine initially built tissue by hand to provide patients with the technology of this field, the process needs to be automated because manual access is time-consuming, technologically costly, and complicated. Biological 3D printing has the potential to offer a variety of advantages, such as reproducibility, precision, automation, scalability, and lower costs, the last features that can allow the tissue to be delivered as needed.
On the other hand, developments in biological printing have shown the ability to print high viability and preserved functions of stem cells (Shokoohian, Negahdari, and Vosough). They retain versatility, which can build new tissue structures and model systems for a wide range of applications in regenerative medicine. For example, a device called an Integrated Tissue, and Organ Printing System was developed by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine that creates biodegradable plastic living cells to build muscles, cartilage, and even bones. These portions of the implanted tissue have already been shown to survive in animal experiments. Therefore, it is possible to print replacement parts on the human body as soon as they affirm its long-term safety.