Neural regeneration devices interface with the nervous system and can provide flexibility in material choice, implantation without the need for additional surgeries, and the ability to serve as guides augmented with physical, biological (e.g., cellular), and biochemical functionalities. Given the complexity and challenges associated with neural regeneration, a 3D printing approach to the design and manufacturing of neural devices could provide next-generation opportunities for advanced neural regeneration via the production of anatomically accurate geometries, spatial distributions of cellular components, and incorporation of therapeutic biomolecules. A 3D printing-based approach offers compatibility with 3D scanning, computer modeling, choice of input material, and increasing control over hierarchical integration. Therefore, a 3D printed implantable platform could ultimately be used to prepare novel biomimetic scaffolds and model complex tissue architectures for clinical implants in order to treat neurological diseases and injuries. Further, the flexibility and specificity offered by 3D printed in vitro platforms have the potential to be a significant foundational breakthrough with broad research implications in cell signaling and drug screening for personalized healthcare. This progress report examines recent advances in 3D printing strategies for neural regeneration as well as insight into how these approaches can be improved in future studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
A.M.P. and M.C.M. acknowledge the Minnesota Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Grant Program, and the Morton Cure Paralysis Fund. M.C.M. acknowledges the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (Award No. 1DP2EB020537). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Blake N. Johnson from the Grado Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech for his valuable comments and suggestions.
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- 3D bioprinting
- nervous system
- neural regeneration
- spinal cord
- tissue engineering