blood vessels

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.

 
allevi author 3d bioprinted sugar stents to aid in surgical suturing.jpg
 

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: New platelet-rich bioink boosts healing

platelet-rich-bio-ink-could-boost-healing-of-3d-printed-tissue-implants-and-skin-grafts-allevi

New #AlleviAuthor coming at you! 

Platelets are a component of blood that play a crucial role in wound healing: they induce clotting! Remember the last time you nicked yourself with a kitchen knife? The platelets in your blood rushed to the site of the wound and coagulated to staunch the bleeding and start the healing process. But platelets don't stop there - they also release growth factors to help repair the tissue which is why it is increasingly common to mix them with plasma for use in treatment of wound care and post operative procedures. 

Researchers at MIT, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Massachusetts General Hospital used the Allevi #BetaBot to develop a platelet-rich bioink to boost the healing properties of 3D printed tissues and skin grafts.

"In less than a day, the platelet-rich ink had prompted enough cell migration to heal about 50 percent of a scratch on some artificial skin, whereas the platelet-less version had covered just 5 percent of it. The ink also demonstrated the other unique property that platelets can offer, which is its ability to call for ‘reinforcement’ cells. It encouraged more than twice as many mesenchymal stem cells to migrate towards it than the platelet-less version, in a 24-hour period. These stem cells can then develop into muscle, cartilage or bone."  🅰️🅱️🆎🅾️

As the field of 3d bioprinting matures, bioinks like this one will be crucial for organ replacement procedures to help with wound healing and tissue regeneration. 

Their findings were published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

BBC's The One Show Visits Allevi Power User, Dr Sam Pashneh-Tala

BBC's The One Show recently stopped by Dr. Sam Pashneh-Tala's lab at the University of Sheffield to learn more about tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting.

Dr. Pashneh-Tala’s research is focused on developing novel tissue-engineered blood vessels for use in vascular surgery. Current strategies rely on autograft vessels; which are of limited availability, variable quality and are prone to infection and blood clotting. Using tissue engineering and 3d biofabrication techniques, Dr. Pashneh-Tala is developing methods to allow blood vessels of custom geometries to be produced.

Check out the video below to learn more about the amazing research that is being performed today in his lab and the future of 3d bioprinting:

Dr. Pashneh Tala's research is bringing the future of 3d bioprinted tissues and organs that much closer. We can't wait to see what he will do next.  

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.

mortari lab allevi betabot bioprinter research University of Minnesota.jpg

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)

10 Cools Things You Could Print with a 3D Bioprinter in the Near Future

3D bioprinting is an intuitive way to approach biology. But not many people realize its versatility. To give an idea of what is possible through 3D bioprinting, we’re starting a little series called “Allevi Applications.” Hopefully, this will make the idea of bioprinting a little more accessible! So without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Joint replacements, think knee, ankle and elbow.

1. knee replacement.jpg

2. Microfluidic chips

2. microfluidics.jpg

3. Cell scaffolds for replacement organs, eventually making fulling functioning organs

3. cell scaffolds for replacement parts.jpg

4. Cartilage

4. cartilage.jpg

5. Accurate surgical models for physicians to practice difficult procedures

5. surgical models.jpg

6. Drugs with custom release rates, compositions and geometries

6. drugs.jpg

7. Teeth and dental implants

8. Skin grafts for burn victims

9. Casts and bioactive clothing

9. casts and bones.jpg

10.  Blood vessels, arteries and heart valves

And our users are just getting started. Check back as we cover new publications from #Allevi Authors and see what amazing applications they come up with next.