As one of the first groups who are working with Allevi to assess the seemingly endless potential of their bioprinter, we felt it would be good to share a bit about why we’re excited about bioprinting. Sohaib and his team have done a fantastic job describing the potential advances that bioprinting brings to tissue engineering, and we are one of the groups seeking to benefit from it. Our group (the Costa Laboratory at Mount Sinai in New York City) is primarily interested in the heart and how its cells (cardiomyocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, vascular cells, etc.) behave in and respond to different 3D environments; the end goal of our work is to understand and develop new treatments for diseases that affect contractile performance of the heart. The Allevi bioprinter, once perfected, is expected to give us new ways to examine various experimental and/or therapeutic conditions with improved throughput and biofidelity, ultimately increasing our productivity and advancing our understanding of the human heart.
In the mean time, we will be contributing to the product development by assessing cell viability and function in the Allevi system. We want to see if cardiomyocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, stem cells, and a number of other human and animal cells types of interest will survive and thrive within the 3D environment of Allevi's unique printable materials. In the early stages, we will simply be putting our cells in the Allevi system, printing them into culture wells, photocuring, and assessing short- and long-term cell viability, as well as key microstructural and molecular analyses. This will most likely involve some iterative troubleshooting, but once we have worked with Allevi to optimize the system for our cells, we will progress to integrating the bioprinter’s ability to create more sophisticated 3-D cardiac tissue constructs. The possibilities seem almost endless; once we have a better idea of what the printer is capable of producing, we will update the community with a revised project plan.