A scaffold made of tightly packed hydrogel particles allows cultured cells to grow in custom 3D configurations.
Developed by Thomas Angelini and his colleagues at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the scaffold is made of a liquid-like solid material that temporarily becomes fluid when force is applied, and rapidly solidifies after the force is removed. Angelini's team 3D-printed clusters of various types of cell inside the liquid-like solid, creating multicellular structures in the shape of a sphere, a loop and a simple flower (pictured).
In contrast to other, stiffer scaffolds used for 3D cell culture, this one is not easily damaged when cells are injected into it, and does not need to be broken down by enzymes to allow cells to grow and migrate.
ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. http://doi.org/bjzp (2016)