Researchers at RPI have made significant strides to developing bioprinted skin that can be integrated into patients. By using their Cellink BIO X and Temperature Controlled Print Head they successfully printed a skin construct with blood vessels, getting closer to the skin our bodies naturally produce.
Most synthetic skin solutions today function as a short term solutions. As Professor Pankaj Karande puts it “Right now, whatever is available as a clinical product is more like a fancy Band-Aid. It provides some accelerated wound healing, but eventually it just falls off; it never really integrates with the host cells.”. The significant barrier to these skin grafts integrating to the hosts body is the absence of a functioning vascular system in the skin.
Using their BIO X and temperature controlled printhead Karande and his team have developed a bioink which includes human endothelial cells, human pericyte cells and animal collagen. The temperature stability and cell friendly design ensure that these constructs could be printed.
This combination of key elements enabled the cells to start communicating and more importantly begin forming a biologically relevant vascular structure within the span of a few weeks. With blood vessels beginning to form, nutrients and waste can be exchanged keeping the graft alive. Furthermore, the groups significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations.
Watch Professor Karande discuss his work here:
Tânia Baltazar, Jonathan Merola, Carolina Catarino, Catherine B. Xie, Nancy C. Kirkiles-Smith, Vivian Lee, Stephanie Hotta, Guohao Dai, Xiaowei Xu, Frederico C. Ferreira, W. Mark Saltzman, Jordan S. Pober, and Pankaj Karande.Tissue Engineering Part A.Mar 2020.227-238.http://doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2019.0201