New Platform Might Allow Micro Bioprinting at Gastric Wound Sites

By Will Boggs, MD

August 21, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new micro bioprinting platform might allow endoscopic bioprinting at gastric wound sites, researchers in China report.

"I think this study is the first attempt to combine micro robot and bioprinting together, and it's successful," Dr. Tao Xu of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, told Reuters Health by email.

In situ bioprinting aims to print bioinks directly at a defect site in a clinical setting to create or repair living tissues or organs. Most work to date has targeted external tissues.

In a new report in Biofabrication, Dr. Xu and Dr. Wenxiang Zhao, also of Tsinghua University, describe their preliminary work to support in situ bioprinting of gastric tissue, with the aim of creating a micro robot to enter the human body and carry out tissue repair inside the body.

To do this, they developed a micro bioprinting platform installed in an endoscope. The platform employed techniques similar to those used in the manufacture of printed circuits.

The system used gelatin-alginate hydrogels with human gastric epithelial cells and human gastric smooth muscle cells as bioinks to mimic the anatomical structure of the stomach.

At 10 days after printing onto tissue scaffolds, average cell viability was 94.3%. Cells showed a significant 2.1-fold proliferation on day 10, compared with day 0. Although spherical on day 0, the cells became spindle-like or rhomboid with cell spreading by day 3.

The researchers concede that alginate/gelatin materials might not be the optimal choice for future development of this approach, because of the potential toxicity of degradation products in vivo and because these hydrogels can only form stable structures at low temperatures not found within the human body.

"With the development of bioprinting technology, in vivo bioprinting may become the future," Dr. Xu said. "We hope physicians pay more attention to the development of in vivo bioprinting and put forward demands to researchers of bioprinting technology like us. The cooperation of physicians and engineers will help the medical field to develop better."

SOURCE: Biofabrication, online August 12, 2020