Biofabrication and Cell Therapy | Bioprocess Engineering | Corning

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The next frontier of medicine is here: biofabrication.

As technologies continue to evolve our scientific understanding and the application of advanced bioprocess engineering, biofabrication might become even more prominent in the years ahead.

In addition to whole-tissue engineering, one area that has greatly benefited from biofabricating has been cell therapy and regenerative medicine — the creation of personalized medicine and reparable tissue from raw biological materials.

And though bioprinting has earned much of the recent spotlight for its ability to deposit cellular bioinks into a 3D ecosystem of manufactured tissue that closely resembles native materials, it's not the only biomanufacturing technique available to bench researchers. As a 2018 study published in Nature Review Materials explains, biofabricated processes largely comprise bioassembly and bioprinting strategies, which can include 3D printing, plotting, and electrospinning, as well as selective laser sintering and stereolithography.

Biofabrication Today

Current applications of biofabricated techniques run the gamut of clinical biomanufacturing, but they include:

  • Skin applications: Burn and wound treatments have leveraged biofabrication processes to support healing through the spray-on application of suspended autologous cells.
  • Cardiac applications: Bioassembly-based approaches to regenerative medicine have involved implanting sheets of biofabricated material into the impaired hearts of animal subjects to promote organ function.
  • Oncology applications: 3D printing has helped oncology researchers better understand the biological mechanisms of specific disease states. For example, bioprinting enables researchers to replicate breast cancer microenvironments, where they can test anticancer drug toxicity and efficacy.

Ongoing investigations — such as those examining the potential of 3D bioprinting of bacteria — are facilitating deeper analysis as scientists push the boundaries of 3D cellular research.

Biofabrication Tomorrow

Biomanufacturing holds great promise in the ongoing advancement of regenerative medicine, but many challenges still remain. One of the greatest hurdles: How do scientists create biological material that adapts its cellular functions within time, space, and context as it replicates the complex vascular networks of regenerative tissue?

Such are the opportunities in this next frontier, which could someday make whole-organ bioprocess engineering — the creation of transplantable hearts, lungs, and livers — a distinct possibility.

Innovative researchers rely on cell-culturing supplies to unlock the potential of cell therapy. If you need help choosing the right supplies to optimize or scale up your lab efforts, contact us.