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3D bioprinting & alternatives

Two European projects are seeking to reduce the use of animals in research by using 3D bioprinting.

The BRIGHTER project aims to overcome technical obstacles currently limiting skin models that use animals, by creating the structures in 3D, and then hopes to confirm their potential use in both pharmaceuticals and research.

Funded by Horizon 2020, BRIGHTER is co-ordinated by the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), Spain and involves the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, Technion, Israel, and the biotechnology firms Cellendes, Germany, and Mycronic, Sweden, to develop human skin using a novel bioprinting technology based on patterned laser light sheets - light-sheet lithography (video).

“Our innovative 3D bioprinting system not only achieves tissues that are closer to the real ones, but it is also much faster than current systems, a fundamental factor to ensure the viability of the new tissues,” said Professor Elena Martinez, project co-ordinator.

Meanwhile, in a project at Utrecht University, Netherlands, a group is using similar technology to create functional 3D liver organoids on a large scale, enabling their use in drug development testing.

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