Bioink ‘cartridges’ for versatile, personalized bioprinting

Researchers from Rutgers University (NJ, USA) have developed bioink ‘cartridges’ containing proteins, ligands and cells for the customized bioprinting of different tissues on demand.

Go to the profile of Georgi Makin
Feb 11, 2020

Biomedical engineers at Rutger’s University have developed a bioink ‘cartridge’ system for the bioprinting of scaffolds of various human tissues.

Published in Biointerphases, the team describes how the multiple cartridge system is not dissimilar to those used in typical inkjet 2D printers, whereby multiple colors are loaded and mixed to produce the desired image.

Utilizing modified versions of hyaluronic acid - a natural molecule found in many human tissues - with polyethylene glycol, the team developed a gel that could strengthen with chemical reactions with improved durability to serve as a scaffold.

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David Shreiber, Professor from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (NJ, USA), explained:

Instead of an ink color for an inkjet printer, we want the mixture to have properties that are right for specific cells to multiply, differentiate and remodel the scaffold into the appropriate tissue. We focus on the stiffness of the gel and scaffold binding sites that cells can latch onto."

The team worked to develop a system whereby the different cartridges would feature the hyaluronic acid and polyethylene glycol, alongside other cartridges containing different cells and ligands essential as binding sites for the development of a variety of tissues.

3D printing system
Figure 1: This 3D printing system would print gel scaffolds, or support structures, for growing human tissues. Like traditional printers that rely on four pigments to cover the entire color spectrum, the system would include hyaluronic acid and polyethylene glycol as the basic 'ink cartridges' and other cartridges featuring inks with different cells and ligands that serve as binding sites for cells. Credit: Madison Godesky (Rutgers University). Available via:

In theory, the system should have everything required for the bioprinting of gel scaffolds with the appropriate stiffness, cells and ligands based on the desired tissue.

Madison Godesky (Rutgers University), concluded:

Both the stiffness and the binding sites provide important signals to cells. What especially distinguishes our work from previous studies is the potential to control the stiffness and ligands independently through combinations of inks."

Sources: Godesky MD, Shreiber DI. Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels with independently tunable mechanical and bioactive signaling features. Biointerphases. 14 (061005), (2019);

Go to the profile of Georgi Makin

Georgi Makin

Senior Editor, 3DMedNet, Future Science Group

I am the Senior Editor of 3DMedNet, so please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any queries or comments. You can also follow me on Twitter for the latest updates: @GeorgiMakin

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