Research Highlights

Revolutionizing Organ Development: POSTECH Researchers Develop Novel 3D Bioprinting Process

2015-07-24 564

Prof. Dong-Woo Cho

Professor Dong-Woo Cho’s team at POSTECH is engaged in the development of novel tissue and organ printing technology that can bridge that gap that currently exists between the supply and demand of tissues and organs for patients suffering from tissue loss or organ failure. This novel tissue printing technology could lead to the regeneration of healthy functional tissues or organs for patients, thus, eliminating the need for tissue grafts and mechanical devices. 

The POSETCH team made up of Falguni Pati, Jinah Jang, and Dong-Heon Ha, recently published their findings in an article entitled Printing three-dimensional tissue analogues with decellularized extracellular matrix bioink in the bimonthly scientific journal Nature Communications

The concept of tissue printing is essentially based on an additive manufacturing (AM) method that is generally conducted via a layer-by-layer process. This technique has the exciting prospect to print and pattern all the components that make up a tissue (cells and matrix materials) in three dimensions to generate structures similar to tissues. However, the majority of the studies so far have utilized matrix materials that cannot represent the complexity of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) and thus are unable to reconstitute the intrinsic cellular morphologies and functions. Accordingly, it fails to reproduce the structure and function intended. 

The researchers developed a method for the bioprinting of cell-laden constructs with novel decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) for the formulation of bioink. This bioink is capable of providing an optimized microenvironment conducive to the growth of three-dimensional structured tissue. 

These new findings show the versatility and flexibility of the developed bioprinting process using tissue-specific dECM bioinks, including adipose, cartilage and heart tissues, capable of providing crucial cues for cells engraftment, survival, and long-term function. Using the POSTECH team’s tissue printing method, high cell viability and functionality of the printed dECM structures were achieved. Furthermore, the team’s bioprinting method with dECM bioinks could lead to the development of cancer models by recreating the microenvironmental characteristics representative of tumors in vitro.