Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington developed a highly elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bio-printing of materials that mimic natural human soft tissues
Bio-printing is a technique, which utilize live cells within the scaffold of new tissues that has potential to transform cell printing. A provisional patent application is filed on this new material, which can capacity to generate multiple types of human soft tissues, including skin, skeletal muscles, blood vessels, and heart muscles. The findings of study were published in a new journal the American Chemical Society’s ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces on May 03, 2018, named as ‘Highly Elastic Biodegradable Single-Network Hydrogel for Cell Printing.’
“Soft tissue bio-printing suffers from significant challenges as the hydrogels were often brittle and un-stretchable and could not mimic the mechanical behavior of human soft tissues,” said Yi Hong, UTA professor of bioengineering and leader of the project. “To overcome these challenges, we developed a simple system using a single cross-linking mechanism activated by visible light to achieve a highly elastic and robust, biodegradable and biocompatible hydrogel for cell printing,” Hong added.
A tri-block biodegradable polymer of polycaprolactone – poly (ethylene glycol) – polycaprolactone (PCL-PEG-PCL) forms this hydrogel for cell printing with two end groups of acrylates, as they are visible-light water-soluble initiator. Furthermore, polycaprolactone and poly (ethylene glycol) are majorly used in Food and Drug Administration approved devices and implants to facilitate quick translation of the material into pre-clinical and clinical trials in near future. Also, according to researchers, tunability of the mechanical properties of this hydrogel to match different soft tissues is major advantage.