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SELECTBIO Conferences Bioprinting & 3D Printing in the Life Sciences

Bioprinting & 3D Printing in the Life Sciences Agenda

Cartilage Bioprinting: Paving the way to the clinic

Marcy Zenobi-Wong, Professor, ETH Zürich

Cartilage injury and degeneration is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Many of these injuries have no good clinical options as cartilage has an inherently poor capacity to heal. Additive manufacturing (AM) has begun to revolutionize medical treatment. Bioprinting, a subset of AM, has the promise to provide patient-specific anatomically-matched grafts using the patient’s own cells. In particular, cartilage tissue has several characteristics which make it amenable to bioprinting technology. It is an organ which derives its function largely from its structural architecture and mechanical properties, both which can be easily reproduced from medical imaging data. Cartilage is also an avascular, hypoxic tissue, so transplantation of printed cartilage grafts is anticipated to be straightforward. My laboratory focuses on the design of the next generations of bioinks which incorporate essential biological signals transform simple printed analogues into complex, mature living tissues. To increase functionality further, intelligent implementation of reinforcements and channels using sacrificial and strengthening inks are being explored. What will be required to introduce such bioprinted grafts into the clinics? The printing workflow: scanning to modelling to slicing/building paths to printing to crosslinking to culturing, is complex and an assessment of the cumulative effects of these processing steps on the biological and structural properties of the final product will be required. Assuring reproducibility and safety of a product which is individual and made in a batch of one will require new regulations, standards and methods of validation.