A research and development team comprised of scientists from Carnegie Mellon, Penn State University and MIT has showed how 3D bioprinting was made possible by using acoustic tweezers. This study was based on the idea of manipulating cells or cell structures without entering into physical contact with them.
The technique is based on the use of a microfluidic device that generates sound waves on three axes. By modifying the pitch of said sounds, the waves can be made to connect wherever the researchers dictate, lifting and placing cells accordingly. This device is extensively viable due to the fact that the manipulated cells are not actually touched by said fluid.
Instead, the sound waves lift the cells. A similar process can be seen right in the comfort of your home by placing fluid on a sub-woofer speaker. Once a certain pitch is reached, the fluid is no longer in contact with the surface, gaining the ability to float at a close distance from the sound wave output device.
Even if this microfluid device is still in early development, the team attempted to create a 3D structure by lifting a cell and placing it in another location. After seeing how the process went on without a hitch, the researchers have stated that the same method can be applied to larger cell structures while maintaining the same results.
By placing cell structures in accordance with a pre-selected blueprint, tissues of different sizes could be eventually applied onto organs with ease. By preparing the base of an organ structure, bioprinting can get an exponential boost in effectiveness and viability.
Up to this point, several methods of tissue bioprinting have been considered. But due to the numerous factors that have to be perfect in order for a device to be certifiably viable, ranging from precision and versatility to multiple dimensionality, their advancement has been somewhat hindered. If this microfluid device is proved capable enough to excel in every manner, the next step would be to calculate the manufacturing costs as well as viability from a commercial side of the spectrum.
Taking into account how 3D bioprinting was made possible by using acoustic tweezers, the concept of creating living tissue by using a 3D printer gets realer as time goes on. We may even reach a point where a sound-wave based device could potentially be applied directly to the patient’s system in order to facilitate tissue engineering or biomanufacturing processes. This technology could even be applied to metastatic cancer in order to lift cancerous cells and move them towards a region from where they could be effectively removed.