ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 APW1.3 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.APW1.3

3D-Bioprinting coming of age-from cells to organs

Daniel Thomas


Yale School of Sugery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Over the past decade, annual spending on pharmaceutical development to treat many endocrinological systems has increased exponentially. At the same time, in spite of these huge sums invested, the average number of drugs being approved for human use has decreased to one in ten. Currently, preclinical studies to test the safety and efficiency of new drugs, use laboratory animals and traditional 2D cell culture models. Neither of these methods are completely accurate reflections of how a drug will react in a human patient. A solution has emerged in the form of 3D-Bioprinting technology, developed for the scalable, accurate and repeatable deposition of biologically active materials. With advances in this biomanufacturing technology, durable biological tissues for use in testing new pharmaceutical products are now being harnessed and refined. Going forward, 3D-Bioprnting is being explored as a method for the creation of more advanced structures. In the longer-term, this technology offers the potential to fabricate organised tissue constructs. This is being engineered to repair and/or replace damaged or diseased human tissues, and directly has a bearing on developing safer and more effective healthcare treatments. It also opens up the opportunity for cost effective patient specific tissue engineering to evolve. However, fundamental obstacles include balancing scaffold properties to; optimise resolution, cell migration, proliferation and differentiation need to be overcome, one step at a time. By further engineering this process then we can produce tissues which have measurable mechanical, metabolic and functional properties. This is from the perspective of using shaped scaffold bioprinting technology, which produces a complex organ structure. The potential to produce functional tissues on demand, made in a controlled and safe way for use in humans could one day revolutionise the future of healthcare.

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