RIT creates 3D platforms to regenerate tissue growth

Iris Rivero (left), professor of industrial and systems engineering, evaluates a 3D-printed bio-polymer structure for tissue engineering with engineering doctoral student, Srikanthan Ramesh.

New 3D printing techniques are providing a way for an RIT researcher to create platforms to help regenerate human tissue that allows the body to heal itself more effectively. This work could reduce the need for human organ donations in the future.

Iris Rivero, an engineering professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, has found that compatible combinations of polymers and biomaterials can be successfully used to fabricate “scaffolds,” 3D-printed structures that signal the body to begin its own tissue regrowth. This research moves a step closer to the possibility of “smart,” 3D-printed bone, skin, and cartilage tissue replacement.

Bioprinting uses the additive manufacturing principles of building three-dimensional parts layer-by-layer. With the advances in additive manufacturing fabrication, challenges remain in the creation of composite materials that have compatible characteristics to the human body; and, with the capability to degrade at the same rate as new tissue being formed.

In tissue engineering bone, researchers add ceramic particles to biopolymers to resemble bone structure and strength. These unique combinations of biomaterials are devised for scaffold platforms and generated through controlling their processing and mixture.