Larger and More Life-like. What is the Future of Bioprinted Organs?
[Professor Jinah Jang’s research team at POSTECH develops a 3D bioprinting method to produce organ substitutes at scale.]
How advanced is the technology for creating live, moving organs for the human body using 3D printers? Bioprinting research in engineering tissues with bioink containing living cells has been on the rise. Depending on the method for assembling bioprinted tissues, larger tissues or organs can be created, which is leading to a new era of personalized treatment for patients.
The research team led by Professor Jinah Jang (Department of Convergence IT Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering) with PhD candidates Yeonggwon Jo and Dong Gyu Hwang (School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering) at POSTECH has developed a method for engineering organs at scale using bioprinting. The findings from the study were recently published in the international journal Trends in Biotechnology: Cell Press. Professor Jinah Jang is an accomplished researcher on tissue engineering using 3D bioprinting.
The limitations of previously published studies were that only a single tissue could be fabricated at a time, and the size of the tissue was very small. Moreover, additional elements were required for the 3D printed organs to function like real tissues.
To overcome these issues, the research team summarized and presented a new bioprinting technology to engineer the tissues similar to real tissues. In particular, the assembly method allows the possibility of creating engineered organs bigger than the previous size limit.
Professor Jinah Jang explained, “If we combine technologies such as bioprinting, new materials, and stem cells, we can produce more realistic engineered organs. In combination with robotics or artificial intelligence (AI), more automatized and elaborate methods for generation of organ substitutes would be possible in the future.”
This study was conducted with the support of the Mid-career Researcher Program and the Korean Fund for Regenerative Medicine of the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Alchemist Project of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.