Bioprinting in the News: 'Bioprinters Are Churning Out Living Fixes to Broken Spines' By WIRED

Image courtesy of www.wired.com

Image courtesy of www.wired.com

Bioprinters are an essential piece of lab equipment for any scientist, researcher, or doctor that wants to study cells in a relevant way. This is because cells in 3D behave differently than their counterparts studied in a 2D environment; they express more accurate biomarkers and perform more physiologically relevant actions. Bioprinters accelerate the pace of research and allow scientists to find innovative solutions to real world problems.

This awesome article by WIRED profiles a team at UC San Diego that has bioprinted a section of spinal cord that can be custom-fit into a patient’s injury.

It’s awesome to see how bioprinting allows researchers to reliably study the body outside the body. Together, we can change the way we study and treat illness!

Read the full article here.

Allevi Author: 3D‐Printed Sugar Stents to Aid in Surgery

Microvascular anastomosis (or the method of surgically connecting blood vessels) is a common part of many reconstructive and transplant surgical procedures.

There are multiple methods for connecting two veins together including coupling devices, surgical glue, and surgical suturing but each method has it’s downsides; coupling devices can face rejection from the body, glue can introduce contamination or clotting to the vein, and suturing (the most commonly accepted practice) is a delicate and time consuming procedure.

 
suturing blood vessels
 

During the suturing procedure, surgeons are in a race against the clock to quickly connect the veins together to ensure that organs continue to receive proper blood flow. However, blood vessels of differing shapes and sizes can sometimes make this procedure difficult to maneuver in a timely fashion.

 
allevi author 3d bioprinted sugar stents to aid in surgical suturing.jpg
 

In their recent paper titled, “3D‐Printed Sugar‐Based Stents Facilitating Vascular Anastomosis”, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital & The University of Nebraska Lincoln collaborated using an Allevi 2 bioprinter to find a solution to aid in the intricacies surrounding this procedure.

Here, dissolvable sugar‐based stents are 3D printed as an assistive tool for facilitating surgical anastomosis. The non-brittle sugar‐based stent holds the vessels together during the procedure and are dissolved upon the restoration of the blood flow. The incorporation of sodium citrate minimizes the chance of thrombosis, and the dissolution rate of the sugar‐based stent can be tailored between 4 and 8 min.

 
allevi 2 3d bioprinter fabricates sugar stents to aid in surgical procedure
 

3D printing is an ideal method for constructing these stents because you are able to quickly design and create custom geometries to fit the patient’s vessels.

The effectiveness of the printed sugar‐based stent was assessed ex vivo and found to be a fast and reliable fabrication method that can be performed in the operating room.

This new method of aiding surgeons is a game-changer as it is dissolvable, tunable, and completely customizable. In the future, your doctor could quickly print out stents to match your exact vein geometry which would reduce the time spent on the operating table and under anesthesia.

Interested in learning more about this novel technique? You can read the full paper here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adhm.201800702?af=R&

The Allevi Academy

allevi curriculum allevi academy bioprint 3d bioprinter.jpg

By Lauren McLeod, Bioengineer: 

Here at Allevi, we’re always looking to the future - how to prepare for future challenges, how to revolutionize and improve on current research and methodologies...but sometimes it’s necessary to reflect on the past.  We took some time to think about the education experiences that got us to where we are today. Most of us conjured up memories of an impressionable teacher, exciting project, or even an awesome field trip that sparked an excitement for learning and science.  We thought to ourselves, “Why not have bioprinting be the seed of students’ excitement and learning for the field of bioengineering?”

We’re excited to announce the launch of The Allevi Academy- the first step in preparing today’s students for the regenerative medicine challenges of the future!  We partnered with high school teachers, university professors, and educators across the world to produce the best, most streamlined and accessible curriculum possible to arm teachers with the materials and resources needed to introduce their students to bioprinting.  

Through our curriculum, students gain experience with cutting edge biotechnology, putting them light years ahead of their peers as they enter college and the workforce.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, bioengineers hold the third fastest growing job in the United States, with a projected ten year growth of 61.7% by 2020. Our curriculum gives students a competitive advantage in this burgeoning field.

The curriculum enables students to develop valuable skills across multiple engineering disciplines. Included activities incorporate coding, computer aided design, engineering drawings and 3D fabrication to produce innovative solutions for situations modeled after real life tissue engineering challenges. From designing and prototyping hydrogel wound coverings, to vascularization channels for organ on a chip applications, students learn to problem solve and think critically- skills that span way beyond the field of bioengineering.

       -    All inclusive
       -    Easy to use
       -    Satisfies Next Generation Science 
       -    Satisfies National Science Education Standards
       -    Hands on
       -    Real world applications
       -    Adaptable

Check out The Allevi Academy and learn how you can prepare students for the future of STEM and provide them with the tools they need to tackle the challenges of the future!

Print Alive, Print Allevi

Allevi Author: Tohoku University Images Cell Activity in Hyrdrogels

tohoku university allevi bioprinter bioprinted hydrogel imaging

One of the most rewarding “AHA” moments of bioprinting is seeing your cells proliferate within a 3D tissue. As 3D bioprinting becomes more widely adopted within the fields of tissue engineering and personalized medicine, it is important that researchers have the ability to monitor cell activity within in a 3D structure AFTER the print is finished.

Our most recent Allevi Authors have tackled the method of electrochemically monitoring a tissue in their new paper out in the Analytical Sciences Journal titled, “Electrochemical Imaging of Cell Activity in Hydrogels Embedded in Grid-Shaped Polycaprolactone Scaffolds Using a Large-scale Integration (LSI)-based Amperometric Device”.

In their paper, researchers from Tohoku University in Japan use their Allevi 2 bioprinter to print PCL scaffolds as a support material for photocured hydrogels. They then used an amperometric device to electrochemically monitor the living cells. Through their study, they were able to determine that electrochemical imaging is a great way to monitor cell differentiation and will be useful for evaluating the viability of thicker bioprinted tissues.

Congratulations to the Tohoku University researchers on their findings!

Announcing Our Newest Bioink Kit - The Allevi Vascularization Kit

allevi 3d bioprinter bioprint bioprinted vascular network vascularization

One of the challenges within tissue engineering is creating thick tissues. Why is that? To date it has been challenging to add vascularization to 3D printed tissues. 

Vascularization is our body's highway system. Networks of veins reach each cell to deliver fresh oxygen and nutrients, and remove waste and carbon dioxide. This vascular network is essential for organ function.

The challenge within tissue engineering has been to replicate these networks, but even more so… to design them. We have been limited in our bioprinted tissue's thickness because it has been difficult to create these highways in the lab. ....Until now.

allevi vascularization bioink kit bioprint bioprinter bioprinted veins

We are excited to launch the Allevi Vascularization Kit that empowers you to replicate some of the most complex vascular trees in an easy way. It enables you to create cm thick tissues in an automated, standardized fashion and allows your thick tissues to live for weeks.

Vascularization is foundational to begin studying, and replicating the body outside the body in a more accurate way. We are excited to provide you with a cornerstone application within the Allevi platform to help you find solutions to humanity's most difficult problems.