Russian Researchers Develop Bioprinter for Printing Soft Tissues Directly on Patients’ Wounds

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Image source: MISIS

As reported by the National University of Science and Technology “MISiS,” there are currently no commercially available bioprinters capable of printing soft tissues directly onto patients’ wounds. The university’s researchers have filled this gap, potentially revolutionizing the treatment of extensive tissue injuries without the need for expensive equipment. The technology has been successfully tested on animals and has demonstrated its effectiveness.

Traditionally, tissues for transplantation onto large damaged areas of the skin are grown in a lab, requiring cumbersome and costly equipment. Currently, there are no commercial bioprinters capable of depositing tissue material directly onto wounds, which would significantly accelerate patient recovery while reducing the preparation and treatment costs. To address this issue, the university’s scientists adapted an ordinary robotic manipulator, equipping it with a system for delivering tissue “ink” and navigation sensors.

The bioprinter’s software-hardware complex scans the defect, creates its three-dimensional model, and then fills the area with a hydrogel composition containing live cells. Laser-based sensors not only account for the wound’s topography but also adjust the printing head’s movements to accommodate the patient’s body motions, such as breathing. The specialized software synchronizing the robot arm’s movements and material deposition was developed by Alexander Levin, an engineer at the Center for Biomedical Engineering at MISiS. The user interface, offering 3D trajectory visualization, was programmed in Python using open-source libraries like Pyqt5 and OpenGL and is open for anyone interested in contributing to the project.

Based on photographs, it appears that one of the manipulators from the Belarusian company Rozum Robotics was used as the bioprinter’s foundation. The bio-inks, based on collagen hydrogel, were provided by the biotechnology company “IMTEK.” The platform’s software-hardware complex was developed in collaboration with experts from 3D Bioprinting Solutions. The bioprinter successfully underwent tests on animals in the preclinical research laboratory of the Research Institute of Clinical and Experimental Lymphology named after P.A. Gertsen, demonstrating accelerated wound healing.

Experts believe that this in situ bioprinting technology, performed directly within the defect, could become a progressive therapeutic approach for treating burns, ulcers, and extensive soft tissue injuries in the future.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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