3-D Printing

Project Title: “Bio-printed Constructs for Battlefield Burn Repairs"

Microfab Technologies and Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine have developed a skin engineering 3D bioprinter to significantly advance the fabrication of anatomically and functionally improved skin substitutes. This instrument will be used in research to fabricate 3 dimensional skin substitute repair constructs for treating skin wounds, as a result of thermal injury, mechanical trauma, disease, cancer and genetic disorders. The Dermal Repair Construct Printer (DRCP) can also be used to fabricate functional skin substitutes for cosmetology and pharmaceutical testing and skin research in vitro studies. The DRCP is capable of large volume global deposition of tissue engineering construct materials and epidermal / dermal cells for high throughput fabrication combined with low volume high precision inkjet deposition to spatially define patterns of functional cells, growth factors and acellular matrices. This will enable the potential for the in situ delivery of skin substitute materials to provide for rapid skin restoration directly on the patient. An important feature is the capacity to deposit subconfluent autologous cells, thus reducing the time required for dermal repair treatment in comparison to the conventional confluent cell methods (from 2-3 weeks to 5-7 days). The volume and ratio of cells, matrices and growth factors, as well as the thickness of the skin substitute layers can be more precisely controlled via the drop-on-demand inkjet based bioprinting when compared to traditional bolus application methods. The approach under development will advance the treatment of burn patients by reducing morbidity and mortality rates, while improving the outcome of patient recovery with more rapid healing, improved functionally and less pain and suffering.

The DRCP shown in figures below display the 3D bioprinter self-contained in a HEPA class 100 positive pressure laminar flow cabinet fitted with a UV germicidal lamp to provide for a sterile work area. The printhead is mounted on a gantry style X, Y, Z motion stage and is comprised of two valvejet dispensers for higher throughput nanoliter drop volume dispensing of viscous hydrogels and four inkjet dispensers with heated stirring reservoirs for the precision picoliter (50-100pL) volume dispensing of cells, growth regulators and other allied reagents. Crosslinking of the chemical reactive and UV photoreactive hydrogels is achieved either by using the on-the-fly crosslinker nebulizer or fiber optic UV light. The interchangeable heated substrate holder can accommodate SBS format microwell plates (6, 12, 24, 48, 96 wells), 100mm petri dishes and small live animals (lab mice and rats). The user can create printing patterns via a scriptwriter program to specify the number of drops to be deposited per location (volumes via drop accretion), drop pitch, sequence of layers to be deposited and the type and duration of crosslinking. Under development is the free form printing matching curvilinear surfaces, such as on a mouse. This will be achieved by importing CAD files obtained from 3D scanner surface metrology into the jetlab™ printing software.

Printheads for 3D biofabrication are currently in design for incorporation onto existing Jetlab printing stations. Ancillaries for chemical or UV light crosslinking can also be added. Printing programming upgrades to existing machines for 3D biofabrication as well as 3D scanning capability are in the design phase and will soon be available.

Dermal Repair Construct Printer

Printhead Area of Dermal Repair Construct Printer

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