Tissues in the body work as a complex team of interconnected cells. For instance, the heart is comprised of contractile cardiomyocytes, along with a vast array of endothelial cells, immune cells and fibroblasts. Similarly, the liver includes hepatocytes, immune cells, endothelial cells and epithelial cells. Put in all the cellular players, and the team wins. Take out one player, and the team is no longer able to sufficiently function.
The field of 3D bioprinting draws deeply on this idea of optimizing tissue regeneration and replacement. By using naturally-derived scaffolds, human cells and other biocompatible materials, 3D bioprinting has ushered in opportunities for researchers to design, print and optimize patient personalized tissues for purposes ranging from transplantation to drug testing.