3dbioprinting

Meet Allevi 3: The bioprinter for every application.

Allevi 3 bioprinter triple extruder bioprinter

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

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.

Collagen and Matrigel bioprinting with an unbeatable price tag. Meet Allevi 1.

allevi 1 bioprinter collagen and matrigel bioprinting

We are proud to share the newest addition to our family of bioprinters - the Allevi 1.  With the smallest footprint, widest material capabilities and best price tag of any 3D bioprinter on the market, you're going to love using the Allevi 1 in your lab.

User Update: Groundbreaking Research at UMN

Allevi customer, Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, speaks to the University of Minnesota Health Blog about her ground-breaking research using the Allevi BetaBot Printer. Read on for the full story:

“The print head of a 3-D printer scrolls back and forth with a whir, laying down a line of translucent gel 0.15 millimeters thick. A flash of blue light immediately cures the material, the first of 92 separate layers.

Soon, the outline of a nose appears.

‘A nose this size will take about two hours,’ said Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, PhD, a transplant specialist and the head of the University of Minnesota’s new 3-D Bioprinting Facility.

A three-dimensional life-sized nose is just a showpiece to test the new printer, the only 3-D bioprinter on campus. But Panoskaltsis-Mortari predicts that in just a few years, the facility and a few others around the country will be churning out basic body parts such as ears, skin, or blood vessels for transplantation. Some parts may even be manufactured with a patient’s own cells to avoid rejection by the immune system.

With the ability to print a structure that’s exactly the size and specifications a patient needs, bioprinting has the potential to transform regenerative medicine. ‘It becomes a part of personalized medicine,’ says Panoskaltsis-Mortari.

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From theoretical to tangible

Bioprinting is just one of the more revolutionary medical applications of burgeoning 3-D printing technology. In the last couple of years, 3-D printing has provided models for teaching and for designing medical devices. It has allowed doctors to better communicate with patients and parents about surgical procedures. And it has replicated natural human systems such as hearts and blood vessels to help doctors evaluate surgical techniques.

Three-dimensional printing, sometimes called additive manufacturing, fabricates objects directly from digital files. Software slices a 3-D image into dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of layers. It then instructs the printer to lay down layer after layer of material, usually some kind of molten plastic or polymer hardened by exposure to ultraviolet light.

University of Minnesota Health Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Robroy MacIver, MD, MPH, who sees patients at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, 3-D-prints a life-sized heart from his young patient’s MRI or CT scans. Then he can describe to the parents the defect and the surgery he is about to perform.

‘Showing them a CT scan on the screen, you lose a little bit—the size for one thing, how small a vessel is or how small the heart is,’ MacIver said. ‘When you have the actual heart printed, you can show them what you’re talking about. It’s much more tangible.’

Booming with potential

For all the excitement about 3-D printing, the possibility of printing with lifelike organic material, including a patient’s own cells—called bioprinting—is perhaps most novel.

Bioprinting may solve several problems, such as chronic shortages of organs and tissue for implants, and poor genetic matches between donor and patient that lead to tissue rejection.

With 3-D bioprinting, transplantable tissues and simple structures will be made to order and printed on demand, perhaps seeded with the patient’s own cells.

‘Any shape you want, any size you want,’ Panoskaltsis-Mortari said. ‘I’ve been thinking about it for many years, ever since I saw some of the first reports.’

Then a bioprinter fell into her lap. The young founders of Allevi gave printers at deeply discounted prices to 20 research facilities around the world — including Panoskaltsis-Mortari’s lab.

‘They wanted to see what people would come up with,’ she says. ‘It’s a nice strategy. That way, people are free to follow whatever scientific approaches they’re taking.’

Her team is beginning work on 3-D-printed pieces of an artificial esophagus and trachea to sew into an animal such as a pig.

There are still plenty of problems to solve. What kind of biocompatible material will be tough enough to hold sutures? Will it support cell growth? What’s the best way to seed cells on the piece? How thick can a printed part be?

‘Hopefully, we can coax blood vessels to grow into it, to provide nutrients to it,’ Panoskaltsis-Mortari said.

How long before 3-D-printed vessels, tubes, skin, and other simple body parts will be printed and implanted in humans? Just a few years, she predicts. ‘Not long.’”

(Original blog posted here)