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Open Source 3D Bioprinter to Generate Complex Vessel Tissue
Researchers from the University of Toronto have developed an open-source, low-cost 3D bioprinter for constructing complex vascular tissue structures. This research contributes to the ambitious goal of many scientists working in regenerative medicine – which is to create functional 3D printed organs.
Using sacrificial materials such as gelatin and pluronic F-127 (PF127), a thermogel polymer, the research determined PF127 as the superior material for use in developing vascularized tissues.
During this experiment, researchers used their custom 3D bioprinter, which cost an estimated $3,000, to print the gelatin and PF127 materials within hydrogel constructs into a desired vascular pattern.
The modular 3D bioprinter included extruding systems 3D printed from ABS, to hold sterile 10 ml syringes. In addition, the printing system operated from an open-source Duet v0.6 controller board, which to managed five-axis motors (one in X, one in Y, and three in Z) and five independent extruders.
The bioprinter successfully processed the sacrificial materials, maintaining a uniform filament diameter, to replicate complex vascular tissue structures, making it particularly suitable for engineering smaller vascular channels.