[Biomicrofluidics] Perspective: Fabrication of integrated organ-on-a-chip via bioprinting
Organ-on-a-chip has emerged as a powerful platform with widespread applications in biomedical engineering, such as pathology studies and drug screening. However, the fabrication of organ-on-a-chip is still a challenging task due to its complexity. For an integrated organ-on-a-chip, it may contain four key elements, i.e., a microfluidic chip, live cells/microtissues that are cultured in this chip, components for stimulus loading to mature the microtissues, and sensors for results readout. Recently, bioprinting has been used for fabricating organ-on-a-chip as it enables the printing of multiple materials, including biocompatible materials and even live cells in a programmable manner with a high spatial resolution. Besides, all four elements for organ-on-a-chip could be printed in a single continuous procedure on one printer; in other words, the fabrication process is assembly free. In this paper, we discuss the recent advances of organ-on-a-chip fabrication by bioprinting. Light is shed on the printing strategies, materials, and biocompatibility. In addition, some specific bioprinted organs-on-chips are analyzed in detail. Because the bioprinted organ-on-a-chip is still in its early stage, significant efforts are still needed. Thus, the challenges presented together with possible solutions and future trends are also discussed.
Qingzhen Yang, Qin Lian, and Feng Xu