Revolutionary Breakthrough: 3D Bioprinter Prints Tissue in Situ, Offering Potential as an All-in-One Surgical Tool

Sijin Thomas Ninan

8/18/20232 min leer

I'm excited to share a groundbreaking development in the field of bioprinting that could revolutionize surgical procedures and enhance patient outcomes. Researchers at the University of New South Wales Sydney have successfully created a miniature 3D bioprinter capable of printing tissue directly onto target organs or tissues with minimal invasiveness. This innovative device, known as F3DB (Flexible 3D Bioprinter), holds the potential to not only reconstruct damaged body parts but also serve as an all-in-one endoscopic surgical tool.

Traditional bioprinting techniques require a separate surgical procedure to implant the printed tissue, posing risks of infection, lengthy recovery periods, and potential mismatches with the target tissue. However, F3DB overcomes these challenges by integrating a soft robotic arm and flexible printing head into a long tubular catheter, creating a flexible printer body. With three degrees of freedom, the arm and printing head enable precise delivery of biomaterials while reducing the need for multiple surgical tools.

What sets F3DB apart is its ability to perform real-time observations, incisions, and bioprinting directly onto internal organs. The device, resembling the diameter of an endoscope, can be inserted into the body through minimally invasive procedures, such as through the mouth or anus. The soft robotic arm is actuated by hydraulic systems, allowing controlled movement and positioning. A flexible printing head, equipped with soft hydraulic artificial muscles, grants the printing nozzle the freedom to move in three dimensions, similar to a conventional desktop 3D printer.

To ensure accurate targeting, an automated algorithm based on inverse kinematics controls the arm and printing head. This mathematical process determines the necessary motions to deliver biomaterials onto the surface of organs or tissues. Additionally, the printing process is monitored by a miniature camera attached to the device, providing real-time feedback to the surgical team.

In preliminary tests, the researchers successfully printed multilayer 3D patterns using non biomaterials in the laboratory. They also printed shapes with nonliving materials on a pig's kidney surface and living biomaterials on a glass surface inside an artificial colon. Encouragingly, they observed significant cell growth during these experiments, demonstrating the device's potential for tissue regeneration.

The researchers further validated F3DB's capabilities by utilizing it for various endoscopic surgical procedures on a pig's intestine, including washing, marking, and dissecting. The positive results indicated that the device has strong potential as an all-in-one tool for endoscopic submucosal dissection procedures.

While there are still areas for improvement, such as refining the kinematic model and enhancing monitoring capabilities, the research team is optimistic about the device's future applications. They plan to conduct animal trials in the near future, with the goal of eventually advancing to human trials. If successful, they anticipate seeing the device in operation within hospitals within the next five to seven years.

The safety and feasibility of F3DB are of paramount importance, and ongoing research will address these aspects to ensure its viability for clinical use. With the existing utilization of 3D endoscopic robot arms in clinical settings, the potential commercialization of F3DB seems promising, provided the necessary improvements and safety verification are carried out.

This remarkable achievement in 3D bioprinting brings us one step closer to personalized regenerative medicine and minimally invasive surgical interventions. The integration of advanced technology and biomedical engineering opens up new possibilities for improving patient care and outcomes. We eagerly await further developments in this field and the potential impact it will have on medical practices worldwide.

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#Bioprinting #RegenerativeMedicine #MedicalTechnology #SurgicalInnovation #BiomedicalEngineering #ResearchandDevelopment