Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Purdue University have announced the development of bio-ink that they say could help localize critical regions, tissues, and organs during surgical operations. The ink used to create the biosensors is biocompatible and provides a user-friendly design with excellent workable time frames of more than a single day.
Scientists on the project say the new biosensors allow for simultaneous recording and imaging of tissues and organs during surgical procedures. The material could have use for simultaneously recording and imaging during heart surgery, localizing critical regions, and guiding surgical interventions, including procedures for restoring normal heart rhythms. Researchers at Los Alamos were responsible for the formulation and synthesizing of the bio-ink.
Their goal was to create an ultra-soft, thin, and stretchable material for biosensors capable of interfacing with the surface of organs using 3D printing techniques. Researcher Kwan-Soo Lee says silicone materials are a liquid that flows like honey, making it very challenging to 3D print without sagging and flowing issues during printing. Lee says it’s exciting to have found a way to create printed inks that don’t have any shaped deformation during the curing process.
Bio-inks are softer than tissue and stretch without experiencing sensor degradation. They also have reliable natural adhesion to the wet surface of organs without needing any additional adhesive. Researchers performed experiments with material with in vivo assessment of the patch by testing in both mice and pigs. The results of the tests showed the biosensor was able to reliably measure electrical signal while not impairing cardiac function.
There is no indication of when or if the material will be moved to human trials at this time. It’s also unclear when if the material might ever be used in traditional surgical settings.