Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have developed a high-performance technique for 3D bioprinting. Using the new technology, researchers can very quickly print a large number of custom tissue samples that are suitable for drug detection. Its printing method can produce a 96-well plate with tissue samples in each well in as little as 30 minutes, which takes more than 100 hours using previous technologies. This approach would be useful for researchers who need to test the effects of drug candidates on specific human tissues or model diseases.
High-performance drug displays with human tissue samples can help researchers eliminate candidates for ineffective drugs, identify promising pharmaceutical compounds, and reduce the number of experimental animals needed for preclinical drug research. Bioimprinting is a technology in development, through which a solution of cells and biomaterials in tissue constructions is 3D printed, which can help in the detection of high-performance drugs. However, current bioprinting technologies are not usually fast enough to produce a large number of tissue samples within a reasonable time frame.
This new method is aimed at creating tissue samples that contain human cells and can provide valuable data. “With human tissues, you can get better data (real human data) on how a drug will work,” Shaochen Chen, a researcher involved in the study, said in a UCSD ad. “Our technology can create these fabrics with capacity of high performance, high reproducibility and high precision. This could really help the pharmaceutical industry to quickly identify and focus on the most promising drugs. ”
Examples of geometries that the high-performance 3D bioprinter can produce quickly.
Researchers can create a variety of custom tissue structures using technology, and printing occurs directly in the wells of a 96-well plate, meaning tissue samples are ready to be tested immediately. An individual sample can be created in as little as 10 seconds. “When you scale up to a 96-well plate, you talk about a world of time-saving differences: at least 96 hours using a traditional method plus sample transfer time, compared to about 30 minutes in total with our technology, ”Chen added.
Using a computer to design the structure of pre-printed samples, researchers can use medical scans to create custom samples that are individual to specific patients. The computer model is then divided into two-dimensional cuts and printing is cut by sheet, rather than the line-by-line approach most commonly used by printers. A series of mirrors and a light-sensitive polymer that solidifies when light reflected by mirrors attacks helps the system quickly create a 3D polymer structure that contains living cells.
“An analogy would be to compare the difference between drawing a shape with a pencil versus a stamp,” said Henry Hwang, another researcher involved in the project. “With a pencil, you should draw each line to complete the shape. But with a stamp, mark all that shape at once. That’s what the digital micromirror device does in our technology. They’re speed differences in orders of magnitude.”
Study the magazine Biofabrication: High-performance direct 3D bioprinting on multi-well plates