3D Printing for Liver Tissue Engineering: Current Approaches and Future Challenges
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Recent developments in 3D printing have greatly accelerated progress in the field of liver tissue engineering by enabling the fabrication of more tissue-mimetic structures capable of restoring function. A variety of 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques ranging from stereolithography to direct ink writing have shown great promise in liver tissue engineering and the study of cellular interactions. Despite these advances, however, there is significant room for improvement. Furthermore, because of the enormous capabilities of 3D printing, methods to analyze complex heterogeneous tissues in vitro have yet to be perfected. Investigations into the ability of 3D printing to recreate the macro- and microstructural components of the liver are still in their infancy. These specific issues need to be addressed in combination with massive scale up if 3D-printed tissue-engineered livers are to reach clinical relevance.