Traction of 3D and 4D Printing in the Healthcare Industry: From Drug Delivery and Analysis to Regenerative Medicine

Karim Osouli-Bostanabad, Tahereh Masalehdan, Robert M.I. Kapsa, Anita Quigley, Aikaterini Lalatsa, Kiara F. Bruggeman, Stephanie J. Franks, Richard J. Williams, David R. Nisbet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Three-dimensional (3D) printing and 3D bioprinting are promising technologies for a broad range of healthcare applications from frontier regenerative medicine and tissue engineering therapies to pharmaceutical advancements yet must overcome the challenges of biocompatibility and resolution. Through comparison of traditional biofabrication methods with 3D (bio)printing, this review highlights the promise of 3D printing for the production of on-demand, personalized, and complex products that enhance the accessibility, effectiveness, and safety of drug therapies and delivery systems. In addition, this review describes the capacity of 3D bioprinting to fabricate patient-specific tissues and living cell systems (e.g., vascular networks, organs, muscles, and skeletal systems) as well as its applications in the delivery of cells and genes, microfluidics, and organ-on-chip constructs. This review summarizes how tailoring selected parameters (i.e., accurately selecting the appropriate printing method, materials, and printing parameters based on the desired application and behavior) can better facilitate the development of optimized 3D-printed products and how dynamic 4D-printed strategies (printing materials designed to change with time or stimulus) may be deployed to overcome many of the inherent limitations of conventional 3D-printed technologies. Comprehensive insights into a critical perspective of the future of 4D bioprinting, crucial requirements for 4D printing including the programmability of a material, multimaterial printing methods, and precise designs for meticulous transformations or even clinical applications are also given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2764-2797
Number of pages34
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022


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