Interest in the field of three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has increased enormously over the past ten years, thanks in no small part to its ability to precisely place different biomaterials, biomolecules and cell types together in a predefined position to generate printed composite architectures.
Cell therapy is an approach that is being used by many researchers to treat a variety of injuries and diseases. However, there are some challenges associated with it, such as the low rate of cell survival and the uncontrolled differentiation of the injected stem cells. But these are challenges that the use of hydrogels can potentially help to overcome.
Cultured hepatocytes are critical for drug toxicity testing but are not able to maintain their performance levels for long. A new hydrogel is set to improve durability, turning laggard cells into winning performers.
Hydrogels are gel-like materials containing networks of linked polymers swelled with water. Hydrogels that can be used for cell culture come in a huge variety of forms and are used to replicate the function of the extracellular matrix (ECM); the material which surrounds and supports cells in our tissues. This ECM is itself a complex hydrogel.