Combining Molecular Self-Assembly with 3D Printing Produces Better Drugs

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Researchers at Queen Mary University in London are working on a way to combine self-assembling molecules with 3D printing (additive manufacturing) to enable them to more effectively design tissues, as well as to test the effects of therapeutic drugs.

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Bioprinting technique gives additive advantage to tissue engineering

Researchers have developed a bioprinting technique that combines molecular self-assembly with additive manufacturing, an advance with potential benefits for tissue engineering and drug testing.

Led by Queen Mary University of London, the researchers have created structures embedded in an ink, which they said is similar to their native environment and opens the possibility of making them behave as they would in the body.

This would allow researchers to observe cells within these environments and potentially enable them to study cancer growth or the interaction of immune cells with other cells, which could lead to the development of new drugs.

The structures can be manufactured under digital control and with molecular precision which also enables the researchers to create constructs that mimic body parts or tissues for tissue engineering or regenerative medicine.

The study is published in Advanced Functional Materials.

Prof Alvaro Mata, from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, said: “The technique opens the possibility to design and create biological scenarios like complex and specific cell environments, which can be used in different fields such as tissue engineering by creating constructs that resemble tissues or in vitro models that can be used to test drugs in a more efficient manner.”

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