Title : The role of 3D printing and bioprinting in engineering a bioartificial pancreas for regenerative medicine in diabetes
The global rise in diabetes along with the current lack of sufficient donor human islets for cell replacement therapy motivates the making of a bioartificial pancreas to replace pancreas’ function. Technological advances in tissue engineering revolutionize diabetes treatment. One such technology is 3D printing and bioprinting. This computer-based fabrication process encourages innovation in bioengineering a bioartificial pancreas using a tri-factor approach – design, material, and processes. First, we highlight and compare different technologies available in 3D printing and bioprinting. The selection of suitable printing technology will enhance the fabrication process of bioartificial pancreas. Next, we identify key components of pancreas and clinical considerations for engineering a bioartificial pancreas. To recapitulate the pancreas’ function in insulin secretion and glycaemic control, the bioartificial pancreas will consist of three components 1. Cells (beta cells and supplementary cells) 2. Scaffold (for cell delivery) and 3. System (the housing of cells with scaffold). Thereafter, we match these needs and identify engineering solutions using 3D printing and bioprinting to mimic pancreas’ functionality. Lastly, we highlight challenges and potential directions towards an implantable bioartificial pancreas fabricated using 3D printing and bioprinting.