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Genetic engineering introduces 3D bioprinting of growth-promoting materials

Genetic engineering includes the field of bioprinting in three dimensions. “3D printers are now replicating materials that are compatible with biology and medicine such as delivery of drugs to fight off cancer or growth-promoting materials that can be used for tissue engineering to heal a wound or repair a damaged part of the body,” says Dr. Mark DeCoster, the James E. Wyche III Endowed Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. He will present as an invited speaker at the International Bioprinting Congress, July 24-25, 2014 at the Biopolis Research and Development Center in Singapore. Imagine buying a 3-D printer with which you can print out cells and tissue models, and perhaps sometime in the future print out in 3-D living organisms, maybe even your own batch of children. But today, the reality in 3D bioprinting/genetic engineering is about printing out tissue and cell models, that is 3D cellular structures, and even printing out biological organs in 3 dimensions. You may wish to see the articles, "Bio-printing transplantable tissues, organs: Another step closer" or "3D Printing: Is Bio-Printing the Future of Organ Replacement?"

3D bioprinting.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

DeCoster, who also is a research faculty member in Louisiana Tech’s Institute for Micromanufacturing, will present the lecture titled, “Bioprinting interfaces for 2D and 3D cell and tissue models.” The presentation will focus on the development of a novel, matrix-free method for generating 3D cell spheroids that are combining knowledge from bioprinting methods on 2D surfaces to link 3D cellular structures. If you wish to see more information on what bioprinting in three dimensions is all about, check out the May 15, 2014 article by Ken Dyle, "Bioprinting: From Patches to Parts," (Genetic Engineering.) Genetic. Engingeering. Biotechnology. News (paper) 34 (10): 1, 34–5. You also may wish to check out the website, "Welcome to the Institute for Micromanufacturing."

“The cells of our bodies exist in both a three dimensional (3D) environment, which is rounder, as well as places that are more two dimensional (2D) or flattened,” says DeCoster, according to a July 21, 2014 news release, Louisiana Tech University professor presents at International Bioprinting Congress. “What is so new and exciting about 3D printers in the biomedical sciences and engineering is that we can now enable our imagination to convert a good idea into something that is printable and testable in 3D, and could have significant impacts on human health.

In his laboratory, DeCoster says he and his team are using 3D printers and other materials to generate cell-friendly building blocks to control and study cells as groups both in 3-dimensions and in 2-dimensions

“We feel this is important because we need to understand how to put cells together to grow better tissues or repair them, and also to understand how damaged or diseased cells behave,” DeCoster explains, according to the news release. DeCoster received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University, and his bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William and Mary. His research interests include combining nanotechnology with cell biology to understand systems in the brain and in disease states such as cancer. DeCoster has published 60 peer-reviewed papers with over 1,750 citations of this work, and has served extensively as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and for more than 25 different scientific journals.

The International Bioprinting Congress features leading international scientists and thought leaders, and provides the attendees with detailed insights into the latest developments and techniques in 3D bioprinting. Attendees also learn about the many advances in 3D bioprinting including additive manufacturing of tissues and biofabrication, scaffolds and biomaterials for tissue engineering, biological laser printing, biological inkjet printing, and the search for the synergy by fusion of bio-additive manufacturing and micro manufacturing.

“We need to understand both the 2D and 3D environments since different parts of the body use different materials to function, and this complexity of materials will most likely also be needed in bioprinting,” explains DeCoster. “In my presentation at the International Bioprinting Congress, I look forward to sharing the research we’re doing at Louisiana Tech on how normal cells of the brain as well as cancer cells (such as in brain tumors), can be studied using materials from 3D printers and how we combine those materials with cells.” You also may wish to see news of another work of research on bioprinting, "Penn Research Lab Tackles 3D Bio Printing Vascular Challenge." Or see, "The Bioprinting Process | Organovo."