Human based bioinks to engineer physiologically relevant tissues

Period: 01/11/2022 – 30/04/2024
Funding scheme: ERC-PoC- Proof of Concept
Coordination: João F. Mano –  University of Aveiro

Bioprinting techniques, which integrate 3D printing with tissue engineering by using living cells encapsulated in natural or synthetic biomaterials as bioinks, are paving the way toward devising many innovating solutions for key biomedical and healthcare challenges and heralds’ new frontiers in medicine, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

HumanINK aims to validate human based-bioinks to produce robust humanized 3D environments with unprecedented biofunctionality for cell culture that fully recapitulate the native microenvironment of a variety of human tissues and organs.
Under this project human-protein derivative precursors that can be cured upon light exposure to form soft hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties will be tested and validated as bioinks for 3D bioprinting. Such materials provide functional support for cell growth and interact with cells to control their function, guiding the process of tissue morphogenesis. This platform is the first to offer complete human-based material for bioprinting and an easy-to-use solution to create physiologically relevant 3D in vitro cell cultures, accelerate drug discovery or clinical purposes.
The HumanINK will allow to optimize the printability, robustness, reproducibility and scalability of the human-based bioinks. The biological response of multiple human cell types will be investigated and the bioinks will be benchmarked with the main competitors in the market.

Our proposed technology will increase the probability of successful drug development while simultaneously reducing the cost and time of development and supporting animal welfare, reducing animal experimentation. Based on the unique properties of our products, HumanINK represents a unique opportunity to develop materials for tissue engineering and accurate disease models for bridging the gap between fundamental research and drug validation, with a high and broad market potential in pharma companies, clinical institutions, or research groups.