Chinese researchers have designed a new way of treating gastric wounds by using a micro-robot that can conduct in vivo bio-printing.

Gastric wall injury is a common problem in the digestive tract, which often requires drug therapy or invasive surgery.

Bio-printing, a way of delivering new cells directly to the wound site to repair the tissue, offers a potentially very useful way to treat the problem.

Researchers from Tsinghua University put forward a new concept of “in situ in vivo bio-printing” and designed a micro-robot that enters the body via an endoscope to carry out tissue repair.

They tested the micro-robot and the delivery system with a biological model of a human stomach and an endoscope to mimic the insertion and bio-printing operation.

They also carried out a bio-printing test in a cell culture dish to test how effective the device was at bio-printing viable cells and repairing wounds.


Tests showed that printed cells remained at high viability and steady proliferation, which indicated good biological function of the cells in printed tissue.

Xu Tao, one of the researchers, said the research verified the feasibility of this concept of treatment for gastric wall injuries and offered a potential application for a variety of wound treatments inside the body without the need for invasive surgeries.

“More work is needed, including reducing the size of the bio-printing platform and developing bio-inks,’’ Tao said.

Tao said the development of the system involves interdisciplinary research on biological manufacturing, 3D printing and mechanics.

“We hope the advances in the field of bio-printing can bring the potential for clinical sciences.’’

The research was published in the journal Bio-fabrication.

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