We have investigated 3D tissue culture of stem cells in wells for high throughput drug screening and toxicity testing. Can you tell me how 3D bioprinting for these would compare?


Without information on the equipment and materials you’re using (What is the medium that provides your cells with an extracellular matrix-like environment? How are the cells being dispensed, etc?), it is hard to say how bioprinting would compare with what you are currently doing. Bioprinting encompasses a wide range of technologies for depositing cells and other biological molecules in particular patterns so as to allow the cells to interact and form into tissue constructs, so perhaps you are already actually “bioprinting”. One bioprinting technique might work for your particular cells, while another one might not. It would likely come down to running some trials using your cells and media and determining which variables yield the most viable tissues for the drug testing.

In my experience, bioprinting has played a big part in the drug screening process in these ways: automating the creation of 3D microenvironment by dispensing high viscosity materials that could give the construct some structure (a Matrigel-cell mixture, for example) and layering in 3D, being able to deposit materials in a noncontact application wherein using a syringe/pipette isn’t ideal, raising throughput, and meanwhile producing more physiologically relevant data.

So in summary, there are so many parameters to consider, that it is hard to make a generalization about “bioprinting” vs. your current culture methods without having more details.

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