3D printing-based full-scale human brain for diverse applications

Brain-X 2023 Volume 1, Issue 1, Article e5

Surgery is the most frequent treatment for patients with brain tumors. The construction of full-scale human brain models, which is still challenging to realize via current manufacturing techniques, can effectively train surgeons before brain tumor surgeries. This paper aims to develop a set of three-dimensional (3D) printing approaches to fabricate customized full-scale human brain models for surgery training as well as specialized brain patches for wound healing after surgery. First, a brain patch designed to fit a wound’s shape and size can be easily printed in and collected from a stimuli-responsive yield-stress support bath. Then, an inverse 3D printing strategy, called “peeling-boiled-eggs,” is proposed to fabricate full-scale human brain models. In this strategy, the contour layer of a brain model is printed using a sacrificial ink to envelop the target brain core within a photocurable yield-stress support bath. After crosslinking the contour layer, the as-printed model can be harvested from the bath to photo crosslink the brain core, which can be eventually released by liquefying the contour layer. Both the brain patch and full-scale human brain model are successfully printed to mimic the scenario of wound healing after removing a brain tumor, validating the effectiveness of the proposed 3D printing approaches.