Due to limited donor tissue or organ availability for transplantation, the demand for developing cell-based engineered tissues has rapidly risen. While tissue engineering strategies have had initial successes in building a number of tissues clinically, challenges still exist in developing and translating complex tissue systems. A major challenge for organ engineering is the production of 3D biomimetic, cellular tissue constructs of clinically relevant size, shape, and structural integrity needed for the replacement of damaged or injured tissues.
To address this need, researchers at the Wake Forest Institute have been developing technologies to print cell-laden hydrogels in order to manufacture complex, multi-cellular living tissue constructs that mimic the structure of native tissues for integrated organ printing. Efforts are also directed at optimizing bioink formulations that provide the ideal biological environment needed for the successful delivery of cells and biomaterials to discrete locations within the 3D structures.
It has also become evident that the patterning design of the cell-laden biomaterials is critical for adequate nutrition and functional outcome. This TR&D aims to develop, test, and optimize open source bioink formulations, developed in-house or independently by collaborators, which could be used universally for a broad range of applications. The biopatterning will be focused on obtaining a high degree of control over the cell microenvironment and will be validated for in vivo bone tissue regeneration.
Images courtesy of WFIRM.