The current need for organ and tissue replacement, repair, and regeneration for patients is continually growing such that supply is not meeting demand primarily due to a paucity of donors as well as biocompatibility issues leading to immune rejection of the transplant. In order to overcome these drawbacks, scientists have investigated the use of scaffolds as an alternative to transplantation. These scaffolds are designed to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) by providing structural support as well as promoting attachment, proliferation, and differentiation with the ultimate goal of yielding functional tissues or organs. Initial attempts at developing scaffolds were problematic and subsequently inspired an interest in 3D printing as a mode for generating scaffolds. Utilizing three-dimensional printing (3DP) technologies, ECM-like scaffolds can be produced with a high degree of complexity, where fine details can be included at a micrometer level. In this Review, the criteria for printing viable and functional scaffolds, scaffolding materials, and 3DP technologies used to print scaffolds for tissue engineering are discussed. Creating biofunctional scaffolds could potentially help to meet the demand by patients for tissues and organs without having to wait or rely on donors for transplantation.
Authors:Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 52242, USA.`