healthcare innovation

Allevi Author: How 3D Bioprinting Solves the Stem Cell Supply Problem

We’ve all read the news stories touting the promise of stem cells to transform the field of regenerative medicine; “The Life Saving Power of Stem Cells”, “The Promise of Stem Cells”, “The $950 Million Dollar Bet on Stem Cells to Cure Diabetes”, etc...

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So why are these cells so exciting to the medical and scientific community? It’s because your stem cells are multipotent - meaning that they have the potential to develop into many different cells in the body. Because they have this ability to reprogram (or ‘differentiate’), stem cells can be used to repair diseased or damaged tissue in humans.

However, these promising therapies require a large number of stem cells for a single treatment (up to one billion cells may be needed just for one patient) and manufacturing these special cells is challenging. Traditional two-dimensional culture protocols are resource-intensive and inefficient - making it difficult to scale the production to meet future demands.

Our newest Allevi Authors are working on an innovative new approach to solving the stem cell supply problem and have detailed their research in a paper titled, “Bioprinting of Stem Cell Expansion Lattices”.

The team of scientists, led by Stanford Professor Sarah Heilshorn, developed an easy-to-produce and cost-effective 3D platform for cell line expansion by bioprinting stem cells in a layered lattice structure. Using their Allevi 2 bioprinter, the team created three-dimensional lattice structures of stem cells and alginate that reduce the spatial footprint, energy, and resources needed to multiply the cells. So why is this method optimal? Imagine that you are a city planner with a limited amount of space to build more housing, you would be able to provide homes for more residents by building high-rises rather than individual houses.

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Using alginate and an Allevi bioprinter, the team is able to create 3D structures that provide a healthy environment for the cells to grow without taking up too much space or using too many resources. Most importantly, the team was able to efficiently remove the stem cells from the lattices without harming the cells.

With countless stem-cell therapies in development for numerous diseases, researchers and doctors are going to need a large number of stem cells in order to bring their work to fruition. This forward-looking approach to solving the supply problem provides a path to clinical applications for patients looking to receive one of these novel therapies in the future.

Read the full paper here.

Allevi Joins Johnson&Johnson's JPOD Philadelphia Community

As new applications continue to be developed within the Allevi community, we feel the responsibility to join larger ecosystems that connect us with more engineers, scientists, and physicians that can benefit from the power of Allevi’s solutions. Our first successful relationship with a broader ecosystem has been with VWR. They continue to help us introduce our platform to accelerate science around the world. Adding geometry to biology is becoming a standard to be able to generate accurate representations of the body outside the body. 

At Allevi, we are now ready to begin to understand how to translate our communities’ scientific discoveries into the breakthroughs of tomorrow. To do this we realize that we need to co-create solutions with those at the front lines who are bringing new drugs to market, fighting diseases at the bedside, and producing novel solutions for the healthcare system.

Therefore, we are excited to join the Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS JPOD @ Philadelphia community. We believe access to this ecosystem helps us connect with those who understand how Allevi’s applications can serve the healthcare industry. These interactions will guide our community today and in the future. Together we can target healthcare’s biggest needs by creating more accurate, predictable 3D biology models.

As we continue to collaborate with the Johnson & Johnson Innovation community, we will look forward to receiving mentorship, brainstorming with great minds in the industry, and continuing to grow Allevi. It takes a village to raise a company and we are happy to have the JLABS village help us reach new heights.