Comprehensive ceramic cell suspension bioprinting to print "bones" with living cells

According to the latest news on the website of the "Daily Science" in the United States, scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia have developed a ceramic-based "ink" that allows surgeons to 3D print bones with living cells (used to repair damaged bone tissue). The related research was recently published in the academic journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Using a special ink made from calcium phosphate, combined with a 3D printer, the researchers developed a new technique called "Total Ceramic Cell Suspension Bioprinting" (COBICS), capable of printing bone structures that harden within minutes of placing them in water.

Dr Iman Rouhani, from UNSW's School of Chemistry, said: "The composition of this ink enables nanocrystallization in an aqueous environment, using a solidification mechanism to transform inorganic inks into mechanically interlocked osteoapatite nanocrystals. "It forms a chemical structure similar to bone structure, and when ink is combined with collagen substances containing living cells, bone-like tissue can be formed." Ink formulations and their transformation in living organisms are fast and non-toxic, and only in biological environments, such as body fluids, providing surgeons with sufficient working time.

Christopher Killian, associate professor who co-developed the breakthrough technology with Dr Rouhani, said: "The coolest thing about this technology is that we can squeeze ink directly into a cellular, such as a hole in a patient's bone, into the bone containing cells, blood vessels and fat, and print osteoid structures that already contain living cells in that area. ”

"It's a unique technology." Dr Rouhani said, "While the idea of 3D printing bone-like structures is not new, this is the first time that this material can be created at room temperature – with living cells and without harsh chemicals or radiation. ”

Turning living cells into part of 3D printed structures is a big advance in 3D printing technology. This technology is very suitable for the clinical application of in situ repair of bone defects, such as trauma, cancer or large bone tissue defects, and can also be used for disease modeling, drug screening, etc. One day, 3D printers may become permanent fixtures in operating rooms.

Next, the researchers will conduct in vivo experiments on animal models to see if living cells in osteoid structures continue to grow after implantation into bone tissue.

Achieving fine 3D bioprinting at the microscopic scale is nothing new, but live-cell printing is still a new challenge in this field. For example, whether the printing is accurate enough, whether the time window is too short, whether the material is friendly enough to cells, etc., are all issues to consider. In the new study, the material used to print bones has never been fitted like before, and the technology has become more refined, undoubtedly taking an important step forward in living cell printing.

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