A. Bhusal, R. Schwartz, H. Anh Nguyen, O. Labutina, A.K. Miri
Keywords: microfluidics, bioprinting, cancer-on-chip
Summary:Techniques for 3D bioprinting microfluidic devices have enabled the development of biomimetic micro-tissue models, to be used for organ-on-chips. We developed an optical bioprinter capable of rapid prototyping microfluidic chips using photosensitive, biocompatible polymers for organ-on-chip platforms. Cell-encapsulated hydrogel-based chips may provide microenvironment clues for modeling cancer tissue and other diseases. We utilized poly(ethylene glycol diacrylate) (PEGDA) and gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) as bioinks to create basic patterns and shapes, where the resolution of the printer was found to be around 20 µm. The mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) can be manipulated by tuning the concentration of PEGDA, GelMA, and photoinitiator along with light exposure time and intensity. We have found a range of printable material by changing the mass concentration of copolymer GelMA from 3% to 5% and PEGDA from 20% to 40% while keeping UV energy consistent. To further prove the concept, human derived cancer cells were cultured inside the microfluidic chip for biological assays. The chip was assembled into a flow circulation system where the chip was stable for 8-10 days depending on the ratio. Cell growth rate and proliferation of the cells in chip under peristaltic flow were monitored and analyzed during this time. With the optimized properties, the cell growth confirms that the fabricated microfluidic device produced a viable 3D cell culture environment. Our bioprinted chip can be applied towards further drug testing and biological studies.