Materials Science

Bioengineering and Public Health: Biomedical Materials and Devices for Bridging the Biotic-Abiotic Interface

Enabling Information Technologies for Organ Bio-Printing
Rodrigo Alvarenga Rezende, Renato Archer Information Technology Center

Organ printing is defined as a computer-aided layer-by-layer additive robotic biofabrication of functional human 3D tissue and organ constructs using self-assembling tissue spheroids as building blocks. Organ printing as any rapid prototyping technology in essence is an information technology because it transforms virtual reality of computer-aided design (CAD) or “organ blueprint” into physical reality or bioprinted organ.

During last decade organ printing has been rapidly emerged as a potentially superior alternative of classic solid scaffold-based approach in tissue engineering. It is becoming increasingly obvious that organ printing could not be reduced anymore to just simple one step bioprinting process and it rather represents an integrated complex of enabling technologies which could be arranged into organ biofabrication line.

The information technologies such as computer-aided design, related software and mathematical models and computer simulations are critically important integral technological components of organ printing technology which are enabling precision placement of tissue spheroids in 3D space according specially designed instructive “blueprint”. Another technologies enabling organ printing include clinical cell sorters, scalable tissue spheroids biofabricators, microfluidics-based tissue spheroid encapsulators, robotic bioprinters, irrigation dripping perfusion bioreactors integrated with non-invasive and non-destructive
biomonitoring systems and biosensors.

Robotic bioprinter is a most essential element of emerging bioprinting technology. Bioprinter can be defined as a computer-aided robotic device for precision layer by layer placement of cells and minitissue such as tissue spheroids into 3D space.

Perfusion bioreactors additionally have been used as a tool for providing mechanical conditioning of tubular tissue engineered constructs.

Virtual manufacturing is one of the most important tools in the development of manufacturing technology and it is now a standard practice in many industries.

It is also important to underline that bioprinting and biofabrication technologies as all rapid prototyping technologies in essence are information technologies, because they are transforming virtual information or “organ blueprint” into physical biological reality - bioprinted organ. It means that automation of bioprinting processes and development of integrated organ biofabrication line will require sophisticated operational control including development of novel type of software. Moreover, designing of “blueprint” for organ printing as well as high resolution and reproducible digital (or droplet-based) bioprinting methods will require optimization of existing CAD software and development of new generation of BioCAD software based on novel function representation approach. Biofabrication technologies as any other modern manufacturing technologies are heavily depended on computer-aided design, computer simulation, mathematical and computational modeling and in silico or virtual testing. Thus, it is safe to predict that the first complex human organ such as kidney will be bioprinted at first in silico.

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