Publication Details

Duchi, S., Onofrillo, C., O'Connell, C. D., Blanchard, R., Augustine, C., Quigley, A. F., Kapsa, R. M. I., Pivonka, P., Wallace, G., Di Bella, C. & Choong, P. F. M. (2017). Handheld Co-Axial Bioprinting: Application to in situ surgical cartilage repair. Scientific Reports, 7 5837-1-5837-12.


Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is driving major innovations in the area of cartilage tissue engineering. Extrusion-based 3D bioprinting necessitates a phase change from a liquid bioink to a semi-solid crosslinked network achieved by a photo-initiated free radical polymerization reaction that is known to be cytotoxic. Therefore, the choice of the photocuring conditions has to be carefully addressed to generate a structure stiff enough to withstand the forces phisiologically applied on articular cartilage, while ensuring adequate cell survival for functional chondral repair. We recently developed a handheld 3D printer called "Biopen". To progress towards translating this freeform biofabrication tool into clinical practice, we aimed to define the ideal bioprinting conditions that would deliver a scaffold with high cell viability and structural stiffness relevant for chondral repair. To fulfill those criteria, free radical cytotoxicity was confined by a co-axial Core/Shell separation. This system allowed the generation of Core/Shell GelMa/HAMa bioscaffolds with stiffness of 200KPa, achieved after only 10seconds of exposure to 700mW/cm2 of 365nm UV-A, containing >90% viable stem cells that retained proliferative capacity. Overall, the Core/Shell handheld 3D bioprinting strategy enabled rapid generation of high modulus bioscaffolds with high cell viability, with potential for in situ surgical cartilage engineering.



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