Organs by design: Can bioprinting meet self-organization?

Ivan Martin, Jos Malda, Nicolas C Rivron

Published: 01/10/2019


Purpose of review

Engineering functional organs starting from stem or progenitor cells holds promise to address the urgent need for organ transplants. However, to date, the development of complex organ structures remains an open challenge.

Recent findings

Among multiple approaches to organ regeneration that are being investigated, two main directions can be identified, namely the patterned deposition of cells to impose specific structures, using bioprinting technologies, and (ii) the spontaneous development of organoids, according to principles of self-organization. In this review, we shortly describe the advantages and limitations of these paradigms and we discuss how they can synergize their positive features to better control and robustly develop organs from stem cells, toward organogenesis by design.


The outlined possibilities to bring together tools and concepts of bioprinting and self-organization will be relevant not only to generate implantable organs, but also to dissect fundamental mechanisms of organogenesis and to test therapeutic strategies in modeled pathological settings.

Full Access Link: Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation