Bioprinting: an assessment based on manufacturing readiness levels
[Review of ]. CRITICAL REVIEWS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, 37(3), 333–354.
Over the last decade, bioprinting has emerged as a promising technology in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. With recent advances in additive manufacturing, bioprinting is poised to provide patient-specific therapies and new approaches for tissue and organ studies, drug discoveries and even food manufacturing. Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) is a method that has been applied to assess manufacturing maturity and to identify risks and gaps in technology-manufacturing transitions. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is used to evaluate the maturity of a technology. This paper reviews recent advances in bioprinting following the MRL scheme and addresses corresponding MRL levels of engineering challenges and gaps associated with the translation of bioprinting from lab-bench experiments to ultimate full-scale manufacturing of tissues and organs. According to our step-by-step TRL and MRL assessment, after years of rigorous investigation by the biotechnology community, bioprinting is on the cusp of entering the translational phase where laboratory research practices can be scaled up into manufacturing products specifically designed for individual patients.