At a UAE-funded research facility in London that is modifying 3D printing to manufacture functional tissue, the fabrication of human organs in a lab may become a reality.
The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children has developed a new method that involves 3D bioprinting around or around microscopic organoids, which are organs generated from stem cells in the lab.
According to Dr. Giovanni Giobbe, co-lead author of the study, “These 3D structures then act as barriers to guide the growth of the mini organs in specific directions or patterns.”
The researchers were able to direct the growth of organoids into precise forms using the 3D printed structures, which they could then see using a high-end microscope.
“Precise control over cell development is of great importance in various fields, such as regenerative medicine, disease modelling, and drug testing,” said Dr. Giobbe.
“Engineered tissues and organs can be created using cells that can be changed into a specific shape or type, offering potential treatments for regenerative therapies and organ transplantation.”
The center, which is a part of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, strives to make strides in the diagnosis and management of uncommon pediatric disorders.
Sheikha Fatima, Mother of the Nation, gave a donation of £60 million ($82.6 million) to it in 2014. The center’s name honors her late husband, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father, and represents their dedication to developing pediatric medical care.
The center, which is currently in its fourth year, is creating waves in the field of genetic therapy and addressing health emergencies like Covid-19, but it is also looking to the future with 3D bio-printing.
“An advanced technology where scientists and researchers can create three-dimensional structures using biological materials,” says Dr. Giobbe of the method.
“It involves carefully depositing these materials layer by layer in a specific pattern to build complex microscopic 3D shapes,” he explained.
Leading experts in the topic are those from the Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Padova in Italy.
Their study, which was released in the journal Nature Communications, sheds fresh light on how 3D bioprinting might regulate the size, activity, and direction of tissue growth.
The study shows that a method for building solid structures inside of an already-existing gel and directing the growth pattern in real time has been successfully developed.
The precise, controlled cell development in the organoid provides new insight into the abnormalities that can occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.
According to Dr. Giobbe, the advantages of 3D bio-printing for organ research and regenerative medicine range from “the creation of accurate organ models for drug testing, customized organ replacement, and regenerative therapies.”
The method promises to assist in developing biologically correct “patches” for living organs and more accurate disease models.
According to the researchers, this entails developing specialized tissues utilizing living cells to repair or replace damaged organ parts.
Dr. Giobbe stated that the goal of investigating the method was to recreate bodily structures.
To better grasp the significance of geometry in organ development, he stated, “the overall goal of our research was to develop a novel method to control and direct the growth of biological tissues.”
The UAE wants to dominate the world in 3D printing technology, with a focus on medical applications. By 2025, the Dubai Health Authority hopes to use 3D printing to create artificial limbs that cost less than Dh400.
By 2025, it is anticipated that the market in Dubai for 3D printed medical products will be worth Dh1.7 billion.