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?

Introducing the Conductive Tissue Kit - It's Electric!


Our bodies contain a highway of integrated electrical communication called the nervous system. It helps regulate our movements, emotions, and even thoughts by having electricity chemically run across conductive tissue. That is why conductivity is a key ingredient to include when thinking about engineering tissues.

Today, we announced the availability of Dimension Inx LLC’s advanced material – 3D Graphene 3D-Paint. This novel material will provide users the ability to integrate conductivity into electroactive tissues, such as heart, muscle, and nerve in the lab. Research grade 3D Graphene, previously featured in and on the cover of the journal  ACS Nano, is now further accessible through our easy to use Conductive Tissue Kit.

One of the most challenging aspects for tissue engineers today is to be able to introduce electrical conductivity, an important and increasingly recognized biomaterial characteristic, into tissue systems. This is particularly useful for electroactive tissues such as skeletal and cardiac muscle, as well as peripheral and central nerve, which greatly benefit from electrical stimulus and/or grow based in part on the electrical conductivity of the material in their immediate vicinity.

With the Conductive Tissue Kit, researchers can begin to further explore the electroactive response of a variety of cells, tissues, and organs - leveraging the electrical conductivity of the 3D-Graphene to not only study basic biology, but to create tissue engineering and bioelectronic constructs. As-printed, 3D-Graphene is composed of approximately 60 vol.% graphene and 40 vol.% high quality PLGA polymer. Unlike other 3D-printable graphene composities on the market, 3D-Graphene is more graphene than polymer. Despite being mostly graphene, 3D-printed 3D-Graphene is flexible and has thus far exhibited excellent in vitro and in vivo results in academic studies.

There is no other material in the industry today that meets the needs that 3D-Graphene came to meet. While it is conductive, it also is cytocompatibile and integrates very nicely with living tissue, making it a versatile material useful for cardiac, nervous and skeletal muscle tissue, as well as circuits that could be implanted in the future. The kit brings all the components necessary to print and test the material.

Allevi continues to set the standard and provide the necessary foundational components for the tissue engineering and biofabrication industry. There is no question electrical conductivity is one of them. We are happy to continue to provide Dimension Inx's new 3D-Paints and advanced biomaterials to make well on our promise to the industry.”

Nearly all tissues operate via electrical signaling to some degree; but the biggest one, in addition to both peripheral and central nerves, is muscle (including cardiac muscle). Electrical conductivity as a biomaterial property is highly desirable and necessary in tissue engineering…. The problem is that traditional electrically conductive materials, like metals, do not integrate well with soft tissues in the body. 3D-Graphene is different.