South-Korean researchers have recently devised an innovative 3D printing technique to manufacture human skin.
According to Medicalxpress, the team from Pohang University of Science and Technology have published their results in the journal, Biofabrication. What sets this new method of producing replica human skin apart from the previous approaches is that it is more time-efficient and cost-effective.
The chief writer Professor Dong-Woo Cho stated, “Although several approaches have been explored for developing biomimetic human skin models, the present skin models, which are still based on multistep production methods using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chips and commercial cell culture inserts, could be limited in making a versatile design that facilitates the development of various functional human skin models. In this regard, 3-D cell-printing technique could establish a new era for advanced skin models.”
The South-Korean team have generated a hybrid 3-D printing system that equips both extrusion and inkjet modules simultaneously. This technique results in a collagen-based material with a polycaprolactone (PCL) membrane, which preserves the integrity of the shape of the collagen.
Professor Cho said: “PCL is a biodegradable polyester that prevents collagen’s contraction during tissue maturation. Meanwhile, we used the inkjet-based dispensing module to uniformly distribute keratinocytes – the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of the skin – onto the engineered skin.”
The skin model is effective and has great biological characteristics. It has a stabilized/fibroblast-stretched dermis and stratified epidermis layers after a fortnight. Crucially, Professor Cho also declared “Significantly, our new method is around 50 times cheaper than alternative methods, and requires 10 times less base material.”