New Findings

The Challenges and Advances of Imitating Nature

Allevi Advanced Biomatrix additives bioink additives for 3d bioprinting tissue and organs on 3d bioprinter

One of the largest hurdles of in vitro cell culture has been to mimic conditions that closely resemble in vivo outcomes. Significant strides have been made to this end in the past decades with progress accelerating in more recent years.

One approach that has widely-contributed to progress in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has been to imitate the human body as accurately as possible. Tissues and organs consist of a milieu of extracellular matrices with varying quantities and placements.

With the advances in 3D bioprinting, scientists now have another tool to move closer to engineering tissues and organs that are more in vivo-like. Employing 3D bioprinting, a variety of ECMs can be precisely deposited in more native formats. 3D bioprinters now have multiple dispensing heads that can simultaneously lay down the ECM with cells in tissue and organ-like configurations. Furthermore, discoveries have recently been made creating native bioinks that are compatible with 3D bioprinters. A combination of such advances and discoveries with 3D bioprinters and native ECM bioinks likely propel future advancements in tissue and organ fabrication.

Further, native collagen bioinks consisting of Type I collagen can also be blended with other ECM’s to formulate more in vivo-like bioinks. Some of these ECMs include Type I, II, III, IV, V collagens, hyaluronic acid, elastin (tropoelastin), fibronectin and vitronectin. ECMs play a major role in achieving the proper cell behavior, cell adhesion signals and binding sites.

In addition to formulating a more optimal ECM environment, cells can be pre-mixed with the bioinks and bioprinted. The cells, in many cases, have been shown to remodel the tissue. Cells secrete and deposit their own intrinsic ECMs, growth factors, cytokines and other biologically relevant components.

The combination of these advanced 3D bioprinters, and cell-laden yet native-to-the-body bioinks, greatly enhance the capabilities and tools available to tissue engineers and scientists.

Allevi is excited to begin offering a broad line of native extracellular matrix proteins from Advanced BioMatrix (ABM) to serve as additives to many of Allevi’s BioInks. Bowman Bagley, Director of Business Development at ABM, comments: “The bar is being raised each day as new publications come out. Researchers are beginning to reject non-native materials as new native, yet printable, bioinks have emerged and are commercially available. The quest to bioprint tissues and organs begins with bioinks composed of native proteins that best replicate a natural, in vivo-like cellular environment. Our goal is to provide all of the proteins that help best replicate the human body when bioprinting. To print native tissues, we need native bioinks.”

As we continue to try and control tissue design, Allevi continues to provide the tools that will allow scientist to most accurately represent human architecture.

The Disruption Continues at TERMIS, with Allevi 2

TERMIS Allevi 2 bioprinter.jpg

Last week was a big week for bioprinting and tissue engineering. You may have heard that we officially came out of Beta and launched the most advanced 3D bioprinter ever created, we call it Allevi 2. You can check out the amazing design and read more about the specs on our website.

We really could not have built this system without the support of our early Beta clients, you guys have been amazing at getting us the right feedback and making sure that we continue to blow the competition out of the water.  We’re happy to be able to embrace new members into our community of pioneers uncovering the greatest mystery of our generation – life.

Our goal at Allevi has always been to create standards and modular systems that can engineer biology to cure disease, eliminate the organ waiting list, revert climate change and push humans to live on other planets. We can’t wait to see what all of our old friends and new users will build, now that they have access to the most powerful biofabrication tool and fastest growing bioprinting community ever created.

On the Horizon: The First 3D Bioprinted Organ Transplant

3D bioprinters are steadily becoming a staple in research and health settings around the world—and Russian researchers from the 3D Bioprinting Solutions lab just outside Moscow are proving just how powerful they can be.

Their aim is to perform the first transplant of a 3D bioprinted organ. The organ of choice? A thyroid gland, due to its relative simplicity. If the operation succeeds and the thyroid is accepted by the patient’s body, the lab will work on transplanting a 3D bioprinted kidney in the coming years.

3d bioprinted organ transplant.jpg

The thyroid will be printed using fat-derived stem cells, and a hydrogel. Since the patient’s own stem cells will be used, the hope is that the resulting thyroid gland will not be rejected by their body.

Head of research at the lab, Vladimir Mironov, is excited by the prospect of applying this technology to kidneys: “The one who will be the first to print and then successfully transplant the kidney to the patient - who will stay alive - will for sure get a Nobel prize.”

The whole 3D bioprinting community, including us here at Allevi, has high hopes for the operation. It’s success could be a huge watershed moment in medical history. 

Scientists Create Beating Heart Tissue in a Lab Dish

Check out the amazing work that our collaborators, Dr. Kevin Costa and his lab, are doing at Mount Sinai!

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/scientists-create-beating-heart-tissue-in-a-dish/

Research Spotlight: Dr. Doris Taylor is Building a Heart from Scratch

Here at Allevi, we’re always keeping an eye out for research being done in tissue engineering and stem cell biology. Together, these disciplines form the backbone of regenerative medicine.

So, it’s only natural that Dr. Doris Taylor’s research at the University of Minnesota and at the Texas Heart Institute caught our eye. Click the image below to check out this brief video describing the premise of her work:

In sum, her approach to creating tissues and organs for transplantation is this: first, wash out the existing cells in a donor’s organ (using a standard detergent called sodium dodecyl sulfate, or SDS) to leave only the extracellular matrix, and then re-cellularize this natural scaffold with the patient’s stem cells. After cell growth and proliferation, the end result is a brand new heart made from the recipient’s own cells. This approach is groundbreaking because it lessens, or nullifies altogether, the problems associated with donor organ rejection.

How could Allevi help out with this goal? Well, we know that an extracellular matrix scaffold is needed to seed the patient’s cells and eventually grow a heart. Why not 3D bioprint such a scaffold, instead of obtaining it by washing out the cells of a animal, or donor’s heart?

Imagine: a patient suffers cardiac trauma and is in need of new heart tissue, or a new heart entirely. A 3D bioprinter could print an extracellular matrix scaffold customized for the patient, and then the patient’s cardiac stem cells would be grown on the matrix. Given the proper incubation, environment, and growth factors, a new, healthy, beating heart could be ready for the patient in a matter of days. This takes the need for a donor out of the transplant equation.

Allevi is looking forward to what Dr. Taylor and her team come up with next. The technique she has developed could be applied to a wide array of organs, and even blood vasculature. The possibilities are endless, and a 3D bioprinter can only help realize the promise of regenerative medicine.

Click here for more information about Dr. Doris Taylor and her work.