Allevi Author - Valentine's Day Edition: GWU Bioprints Heart Tissue

cardiac muscle myocytes fibroblasts george washington university allevi 3d bioprinters and bionk

George Washington University joins the #AlleviAuthor club with their new paper titled, “Use of GelMA for 3D printing of cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts” and published in Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine.

First let’s review some basics about your heart! Heart tissue is composed of two main cell types; cardiac fibroblasts (CFB) & cardiomyocytes (CMC).

 
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Cardiomyocytes are the contracting cells which allow the heart to pump. Each cardiomyocyte needs to contract in coordination with its neighboring cells to efficiently pump blood from the heart, and if this coordination breaks down then the heart may not pump at all.

Fibroblast cells give support to the muscle tissue. They are unable to provide forceful contractions like cardiomyocytes, but instead are largely responsible for creating and maintaining the extracellular matrix which forms the mortar in which cardiomyocyte bricks are embedded. Fibroblasts also play a crucial role in responding to injury by creating collagen while gently contracting to pull the edges of the injured area together.

In previous academic studies, tests of pure populations of cardiomyoctes have failed to stay viable making it difficult to study the heart in a lab setting. In their recent paper, the team at George Washington University set out to determine how 3D bioprinting affects these two types of cells and if there is a way to create viable 3D tissue in the lab by bioprinting both CMCs and CFBs in tandem.

The team studied the effects of temperature, pressure, bioink composition, and UV exposure to determine the best conditions for 3D bioprinting heart muscle.

Through LIVE/DEAD assays, bioluminescence imaging and morphological assessment, they determined that cell survival within a 3D bioprinted CMC-laden GelMA construct was MORE sensitive to extruder pressure and bioink composition than the fibroblast-laden constructs. Also they determined that BOTH cell types were adversely impacted by the UV curing step. And finally they determined that using a mixture of cardiomyocytess and cardiac fibroblasts increased viability of the tissue- showing that CMCs <3 CFBs.

Cheers to the team at GWU! Their research creates an important foundation for future studies of 3D bioprinted heart tissue.

Read their paper here.

Allevi Named Fierce15 Class of 2018!

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We are so honored to be selected by FierceMedTech as one of their Fierce 15 MedTech Companies of 2018!

What really makes Allevi fierce is our amazing community of users who are using their Allevi bioprinters to revolutionize the way we model disease, test novel drugs, and study the body outside the body.

We're proud to empower Allevi users with the tools that will make tangible impacts on patients' lives. Together, we can change the future of medicine. Thank you, FierceMedTech, for your recognition!

You can read more here.

The Allevi Coaxial Kit

We’re happy to announce the newest addition to our growing library of bioink kits - the Allevi Coxial Kit.

This new bioink kit allows users with an Allevi 2, Allevi 3 or Allevi 6 to mix materials from two syringes during the printing process. This is especially useful when working with materials that require curing catalysts or liquid crosslinking agents (i.e. sodium alginate, calcium chloride, certain silicones, etc).

The ability to mix materials at the nozzle opens up a whole new frontier of materials that you are able to extrude from your Allevi bioprinter. The Coaxial Kit is prepackaged with everything you need to get started out of the box including coaxial tip, tubing, luer lock tip connectors, and custom coaxial gcode.

Our mission here at Allevi is to supply you with best possible bioprinting tools that make it easy to bring your work to life. We are constantly testing new methods, bioinks, and tools in our lab to ensure that we are delivering cutting edge techniques to your bench. Together we are making giant strides in the field of tissue engineering and uncovering new methods that will forever change the way we #buildwithlife. We can’t wait to see what you will build with this one.

Newly Formulated Cell Media Will Change the Way We Study Cancer

cell culture media bioprint bioprinter

The first synthetic cell culture medium was formulated 60 years ago by an American physician named Harry Eagle. As a pathologist, Dr. Eagle needed a way to keep cells alive longer in a laboratory setting in order to study their growth and behavior. His formula, better known at EMEM (Eagle's minimal essential medium), is composed of a mixture of sugars, vitamins, salts, and amino acids and as its name implies, is the bare minimum of nutrients needed in order to keep cells alive ex-vivo.

Since its creation, Eagle’s medium has become an essential consumable in labs worldwide where it is used by researchers to study animal cells. However, the formulation hasn’t changed much since making its debut in 1959 and recently scientists have begun to wonder if feeding cells the bare minimum of nutrients is skewing the results they are obtaining in lab.

Thinking of EMEM as Gatorade (which it essentially is), you can imagine what would happen if you tried to subsist on a diet of Gatorade alone. Your body wouldn’t behave normally under such harsh conditions so why do we expect your cells to be any different?

In 2012, a researcher by the name of Saverio Tardito set out to create a more relevant cell medium.

“The vast majority of biomedical researchers use cell culture media that were not designed to reproduce the physiological cellular environment but were formulated to enable the continued culture of cells with minimal amounts of nutrients and serum”.

Improving the metabolic fidelity of cancer models with a physiological cell culture medium, Science Advances

His final concoction, called Plasmax, is a mixture of approximately 60 nutrients and metabolites found in the human blood. In their paper, published in Science Advances, Tardito and his colleagues at Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute compared Plasmax with traditional cell culture media and found that cells cultured in Plasmax behaved in a more physiological manner.

By studying Plasmax in conjunction with cancer cells, Tardito and his team concluded that their newly formulated medium can improve the degree to which in-vitro models behave as they would in-vivo and ultimately provide better models for cancer research.

As we enter the renaissance of tissue engineering, we are deepening our understanding of the complex organisms that make up the human body. In order to develop novel drugs, better study disease, and regenerate tissue, it is imperative that we develop more relevant models in the lab that mimic the geometry, environment and diet that cells exist on in the body.

Read the full article here.

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.