A team of researchers at Texas A&M University has developed an innovative way to print therapeutics in 3D for regenerative medicine. 3D bioprinting is emerging as a promising method for rapidly fabricating cell-containing constructs for designing new, healthy, functional tissues. However, one of the major challenges in 3D bioprinting is lack of control over cellular functions. Growth factors, which are a special class of proteins, can direct cellular fate and functions. But these growth factors cannot be easily incorporated within a 3D-printed structure for a prolonged duration. In a recent study, researchers formulated a bioink consisting of 2D mineral nanoparticles to sequester and 3D print therapeutics at precise locations. The team of researchers has found that combining specific inert polymers with nanoparticles leads to an interesting class of bioink hydrogels that can support cell growth and may have enhanced printability compared to polymer hydrogels by themselves. This bioink formulation has unique shear-thinning properties that allow the material to be injected, quickly stop flowing and then cure to stay in place, which is highly desirable for 3D bioprinting applications.
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