BBC's The One Show Visits Allevi Power User, Dr Sam Pashneh-Tala

BBC's The One Show recently stopped by Dr. Sam Pashneh-Tala's lab at the University of Sheffield to learn more about tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting.

Dr. Pashneh-Tala’s research is focused on developing novel tissue-engineered blood vessels for use in vascular surgery. Current strategies rely on autograft vessels; which are of limited availability, variable quality and are prone to infection and blood clotting. Using tissue engineering and 3d biofabrication techniques, Dr. Pashneh-Tala is developing methods to allow blood vessels of custom geometries to be produced.

Check out the video below to learn more about the amazing research that is being performed today in his lab and the future of 3d bioprinting:

Dr. Pashneh Tala's research is bringing the future of 3d bioprinted tissues and organs that much closer. We can't wait to see what he will do next.  

New Product Alert: Organ-on-a-Chip Kit

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Organ-on-a-chip technology, developed by the Wyss Institute at Harvard, has had a revolutionary impact on the field of tissue engineering by allowing the creation of models that mimic organ function and model diseases in a device that fits in the palm of your hand.

We were amazed in 2012 when we read Dr. Dongeun Huh and Dr. Donald Ingber's paper in Science Translational Medicine that successfully created a diseased lung-on-a-chip. Their findings demonstrated the ability to identify a drug's life-threatening toxicity that went unnoticed through traditional experimental methods, such as animal testing models. It was a milestone achievement and it inspired us to learn more about tissue engineering and its possible impact on humanity.

Since then, however, organ-on-a-chip manufacturing has mostly remained unchanged. Conventional methods give you little freedom to easily customize and create inner-chip architectures for your experimental models. We think it's time for a change...

Today, we're excited to offer Carbohydrate Glass from Volumetric™ Inc. and published in Nature Materials in our new 3D Organ-on-a-Chip Kit. Carbohydrate Glass is an incredible sacrificial material that has excellent printability and makes high-resolution microchannels. This new bioink kit will provide you the ability to create custom 3D geometries within organ-on-a-chip devices and allow for design freedom to create custom in vitro organ systems that were previously not possible. 

Our mission here at Allevi is to get technologies like this one into the hands of researchers who can really make a difference. We have worked closely with Dr. Jordan Miller, co-founder of Volumetric Inc, to perfect the protocol for the Allevi platform. We believe that custom organ-on-a-chip designs will be a major area of innovation for the tissue engineering and pharmaceutical community. This new kit provides another unique high impact application for biofabrication to not only change the field today, but the healthcare industry tomorrow. We can't wait to see what you will do with it.

Allevi Author: 3D bioprinting drug delivery systems

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Time for another #AlleviAuthor - Researchers from Abo Akademi, University of Helsinki and University of Turku use the Allevi 2 to 3D bioprint drug delivery systems.

Their paper studies the printability of PDMS to manufacture drug containing structures of different pore sizes and different drug loadings. The 3d bioprinted structures contained prednisolone as the model drug.

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The work showed that by altering the surface area/volume ratio it was possible to print structures with differences in the release rate. The fact that the 3d bioprinting was performed at room temperature makes this an interesting alternative for manufacturing controlled release device with temperature susceptible drugs.

Imagine being able to 3d print the perfect drug for YOUR biology - to be able to control geometry, custom release rates, and multi-drug composition. This paper explores the future of truly personalized drug delivery.

Download the full paper here.

Introducing the Conductive Tissue Kit - It's Electric!

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Our bodies contain a highway of integrated electrical communication called the nervous system. It helps regulate our movements, emotions, and even thoughts by having electricity chemically run across conductive tissue. That is why conductivity is a key ingredient to include when thinking about engineering tissues.

Today, we announced the availability of Dimension Inx LLC’s advanced material – 3D Graphene 3D-Paint. This novel material will provide users the ability to integrate conductivity into electroactive tissues, such as heart, muscle, and nerve in the lab. Research grade 3D Graphene, previously featured in and on the cover of the journal  ACS Nano, is now further accessible through our easy to use Conductive Tissue Kit.

One of the most challenging aspects for tissue engineers today is to be able to introduce electrical conductivity, an important and increasingly recognized biomaterial characteristic, into tissue systems. This is particularly useful for electroactive tissues such as skeletal and cardiac muscle, as well as peripheral and central nerve, which greatly benefit from electrical stimulus and/or grow based in part on the electrical conductivity of the material in their immediate vicinity.

With the Conductive Tissue Kit, researchers can begin to further explore the electroactive response of a variety of cells, tissues, and organs - leveraging the electrical conductivity of the 3D-Graphene to not only study basic biology, but to create tissue engineering and bioelectronic constructs. As-printed, 3D-Graphene is composed of approximately 60 vol.% graphene and 40 vol.% high quality PLGA polymer. Unlike other 3D-printable graphene composities on the market, 3D-Graphene is more graphene than polymer. Despite being mostly graphene, 3D-printed 3D-Graphene is flexible and has thus far exhibited excellent in vitro and in vivo results in academic studies.

There is no other material in the industry today that meets the needs that 3D-Graphene came to meet. While it is conductive, it also is cytocompatibile and integrates very nicely with living tissue, making it a versatile material useful for cardiac, nervous and skeletal muscle tissue, as well as circuits that could be implanted in the future. The kit brings all the components necessary to print and test the material.

Allevi continues to set the standard and provide the necessary foundational components for the tissue engineering and biofabrication industry. There is no question electrical conductivity is one of them. We are happy to continue to provide Dimension Inx's new 3D-Paints and advanced biomaterials to make well on our promise to the industry.”

Nearly all tissues operate via electrical signaling to some degree; but the biggest one, in addition to both peripheral and central nerves, is muscle (including cardiac muscle). Electrical conductivity as a biomaterial property is highly desirable and necessary in tissue engineering…. The problem is that traditional electrically conductive materials, like metals, do not integrate well with soft tissues in the body. 3D-Graphene is different.

Allevi Author: Allevi and Dr. Anthony Atala

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With a 12% success rate for drugs entering clinical trials, there is no doubt that drug companies need more accurate prediction platforms to help them save billions in bringing a drug to market. 3D cellular models, such as spheroids, organoids and organ-on-chips, offer a promising solution to this issue. But how can these models be built at the complexity and scale needed for pharma? Bioprinting’s ability for increased complexity and automation is the clear answer.

Read our co-authored paper with Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and featured on TED, describing the potential of bioprinting to improve drug testing. 

“Bioprinted organoids can potentially provide significant benefits to drug companies and patients alike,” said Atala. “More accurate and faster testing brings new drugs to market sooner, and the possibility of engineering tumors in the lab from a patient’s own cells mean patients can get the best therapy right away – without time spent taking therapies that won’t work for them.”