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BIOPRINTING BY LIGHT-SHEET LITHOGRAPHY: ENGINEERING COMPLEX TISSUES WITH HIGH RESOLUTION AT HIGH SPEED

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BRIGHTER (BIOPRINTING BY LIGHT-SHEET LITHOGRAPHY: ENGINEERING COMPLEX TISSUES WITH HIGH RESOLUTION AT HIGH SPEED)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-06-30

What is the problem/issue being addressed?

Engineered tissues represent a critical unmet need for in vitro and in vivo applications. The main reason is that tailoring three-dimensional (3D) cell microenvironments with the precision required to mimic in vivo features is not yet a reality. A key issue is that layer-by-layer bioprinting techniques available to date cannot provide both high resolution and high printing speed simultaneously for 3D structures with the mechanical softness characteristic of cellular microenvironments. The vision of BRIGHTER is to provide a radically new bioprinting technology to boost the ultimate performance of engineered tissues.

Why is it important for society?

BRIGHTER will provide a new bioprinting tool that aims to impact the value chains of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Late stage clinical trial failures due to toxicity and lack of efficacy constitute a huge wasted cost, estimated at $7 to $10 billion only in 2012 and reveal the need of more predictive in vitro tissue models that fill the gap between 2D and animal models. Engineered tissues are also considered the Holy Grail to solve the the problem of the scarce supply of organ and tissue for replacement in transplantations. It is foreseen that the global transplantation market would reach $51.0 billion by the year 2025. More important, the social impact is huge: in the EU more than 31 000 organs were transplanted in 2013, while more than 63 000 patients were officially placed on organ waiting lists.

What are the overall objectives?

The overall objective of BRIGHTER is to develop a new bioprinting technology able to produce complex 3D tissue structures at unprecedented high speed and spatial resolution in a cost-efficient manner. As a proof-of-concept application, engineered skin tissues will be bioprinted exploiting the key features of the new device.
The BRIGHTER consortium has been able to define the new prototype bioprinting system set-up and configuration and produce a first set of customized polymers to be used as bioinks. In addition, the first proof-of-concept of the successful formation of 3D structures with this system will be achieved soon.
The expected advances provided by BRIGTHER system beyond state-of-the-art will have a potential strong impact on the areas/fields:

1) 3D bioprinting technologies. The BRIGHTER team will develop a novel bioprinting system based on light-sheet illumination. The set-up will offer an ultra-fast printing speed with high resolution.

2) Photocrosslinkable hydrogel bioinks. Cell compatible custom-made polymer formulations are being produced to provide engineered tissues with biochemical and biophysical cues to guide cell behaviour.

3) Engineered tissues: BRIGHTER will advance the state-of-the-art providing a new bioprinting tool able to deliver a first proof-of-concept of complex bioengineered skin tissues.

So far, socio-economic impact is materialized by the preparation of a patent application on the technology that will be filed soon.