A challenge for tissue engineering is producing three-dimensional (3D), vascularized cellular constructs
of clinically relevant size, shape and structural integrity. We present an integrated tissue–organ printer
(ITOP) that can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue constructs of any shape.
Mechanical stability is achieved by printing cell-laden hydrogels together with biodegradable polymers
in integrated patterns and anchored on sacrificial hydrogels. The correct shape of the tissue construct is
achieved by representing clinical imaging data as a computer model of the anatomical defect and
translating the model into a program that controls the motions of the printer nozzles, which dispense
cells to discrete locations. The incorporation of microchannels into the tissue constructs facilitates
diffusion of nutrients to printed cells, thereby overcoming the diffusion limit of 100–200 μm for cell survival
in engineered tissues. We demonstrate capabilities of the ITOP by fabricating mandible and calvarial bone,
cartilage and skeletal muscle.
Future development of the ITOP is being directed to the production of tissues for human applications and
to the building of more complex tissues and solid organs.