Additive manufacturing (AM) is a rather new biomaterial processing technology that can be used for the design and fabrication of scaffolds and tissue engineered constructs. AM technologies enable the fabrication of objects with complex undercuts and/or intricate external and internal geometries. The use of AM techniques like bioplotting, soft litography or inkjet printing has the advantage of a relatively free form design of the scaffold structure considering the geometry, shape and the positioning of different materials, cell types and bioactive substances. In this context, the terms “biofabrication”, “organ-printing” or “cell-printing” used in the literature describe a growing research sector in the broad field of AM, TE and regenerative medicine and involve the deposition of not only biomaterials but also additives like cells and growth factors at the same time into 3D structures.
The grand objective of this special issue is to present current research and development work in the field of bioprinting in a set of invited papers which should also provide the perspectives for next-generation of bioprinting approaches for tissue engineering.
The first part in this issue contains three papers by authors based in Germany and Austria. The paper of Qin et al.  presents a review about AM of photosensitive hydrogels for tissue engineering applications, which illustrates impressively the use of this technique in regenerative medicine. In this context, the published letter “Laser-based 3D cell printing for tissue engineering” from Koch et al.  could demonstrate that laser-based printing techniques are advantageous to place vital cells in two and three-dimensional patterns for application in tissue engineering. Finally the article of Detsch et al.  highlights a biofabrication strategy based on bone cells and hydrogels and the addition of extra enzyme functionalization for hydrogel mineralization.
We hope that the present special issue (Part 1) will stimulate further interest in the field of biofabrication with focus on advanced AM technologies expanding the opportunities for application in novel tissue engineering concepts.
1. Qin X-H, Ovsianikov A, Stampfl J, Liska R. Additive manufacturing of photosensitive hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. BioNanoMat 2014;15:49–70. Search in Google Scholar
2. Koch L, Deiwick A, Chichkov B. Laser-based 3D cell printing for tissue engineering. BioNanoMat 2014;15:71–8. Search in Google Scholar
3. Detsch R, Sarker B, Zehnder T, Boccaccini A, Douglas T. Additive manufacturing of cell-loaded alginate enriched with alkaline phosphatase for bone tissue engineering application. BioNanoMat 2014;15:79–87. Search in Google Scholar
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