What will it take to get us there?
Reliably producing viable tissue at scale hinges on three key components: fast and automated “push-button” printing technology, biocompatible materials, and advanced light engines.
Because extrusion techniques are slow and limited in their capability produce complex structures, DLP technology has emerged as the de facto standard for bioprinting development. With its layer-by-layer building approach, faster speed, and high-resolution photographic imaging, DLP oftentimes enables more complex printing capabilities.
What is the biggest challenge regarding biomaterials?
While 3D printing acellular structures is relatively straightforward, printing components that are biologically active for implantation in the human body is a much bigger challenge. The inks and associated components such as photoinitiators and crosslinkers used must be not only biocompatible so that the finished product functions without causing harm once in place, but also the tissues must be able to survive the printing process itself. Furthermore, the UV light engines commonly used in 3D printing are less compatible with living organisms. In short, the cells have to be able to survive the printing process under optimized conditions.