3d printing

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.

 
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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&

Allevi Author: 3D Bioprinting a Spinal Cord

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People often ask us, “what is it that a bioprinter can do really well?”, and we tell them that it’s the ability to print and pattern living cells. Your cells are incredible organisms; they understand the environment around them and communicate with other cells to perform specific organ functions. This is why a bioprinter is such an amazing tool - it empowers you to control the geometry and placement of multiple cell types which allows cells to mimic the environments that they are used to in the body. But some cells are more finicky than others… induced pluripotent stem cells and neural cells for instance are difficult to keep alive and difficult to control.

That’s why this next #AlleviAuthor from University of Minnesota really blew us away with their new paper titled “3D Printed Stem-Cell Derived Neural Progenitors Generate Spinal Cord Scaffolds” and published in Advanced Functional Materials, wherein they used Allevi bioinks to 3D bioprint a spinal cord using induced pluripotent stem cells and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs).

Successfully bioprinting multicellular neural tissue is a huge win for the field of regenerative medicine as it would allow damaged tissue to rebuild functional axonal connections across the central nervous system, essentially healing damaged connections. This technique will hopefully help develop new clinical approaches to treat neurological disease, such as spinal cord injury.

You can access the full paper here to learn more.

Meet Allevi 3: The bioprinter for every application.

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Have you noticed? Exciting things are happening in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Since our humble beginnings, the Allevi community has grown to labs in all corners of the globe and includes the world’s best scientists and pharmaceutical innovators. And your work is having an impact.

With every new #AlleviAuthor paper that gets published, our incredible community wows us with yet another mind-blowing application. Whether you are creating personalized bone grafts, printing tumor models for better drug testing, or studying the dynamics of the vasculature system - we provided you a tool and you have amazed us with what you have accomplished with it.

Today, we’re excited to announce the newest addition to the Allevi family of 3D bioprinters that was inspired by your work - the Allevi 3. The Allevi 3 is easy to use, extremely versatile, and yet still incredibly powerful. Check out the bioprinter that can bring your work to life. What will you build?

Allevi Bioprinting in Space

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The physical exploration of space began in the 1950s with the race between the Soviet Union and the United States for who could take those weightless first steps.  Orbiting above earth, astronauts have since made countless discoveries of the galaxy we live in and the science of the stars. On top of the celestial research, space exploration has yielded humanity practical tools that improve our daily lives, such as the GPS in your car, the ear thermometer in your medicine cabinet, and the joystick on your gaming console. Without the constraints of gravity, astronauts are able to study and innovate in a truly novel way.

As we continue to explore deeper into space, astronauts are spending more time in orbit than ever before and need tools that are adaptable and customizable for any given task. This is the ethos behind Made in Space, an organization that focuses on increasing human capability in orbit by bringing 3d printing technology onto the International Space Station (ISS). Accessibility to 3D printing on the ISS has allowed astronauts to print custom plastic tools and parts that are needed to successfully achieve their mission. No need to come back to earth to fetch that tool, you can now print it at zero g.

Here at Allevi, we are driven by the goal of being able to 3D bioprint replacement organs for humans. While we continue to understand the capabilities and constraints of 3d biofabrication here on Earth, the ability to explore cellular function in space could afford us novel discoveries of organ form and function that have never before been studied.

Allevi zeroG bioprinting in space on ISS

In pursuit of this novel research, we have partnered with Made in Space to develop the first bioprinter in space; the Allevi ZeroG. We have designed a compatible extruder that can be outfitted onto Made In Space’s existing Additive Manufacturing Facility on the ISS. The ZeroG bio-extruder will allow scientists on the Allevi platform to simultaneously run experiments both on the ground and in space to observe biological differences that occur with and without gravity.

We are excited to continue to revolutionize how we study biology, not only on the ground but now in space. And perhaps one day, the Allevi ZeroG will aid astronauts in 3D bioprinting replacement organs for deep space travel. We’re excited to participate in this next generation space race.

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allevi zerog bioprinting in space

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.