research

Allevi Author - Valentine's Day Edition: GWU Bioprints Heart Tissue

cardiac muscle myocytes fibroblasts george washington university allevi 3d bioprinters and bionk

George Washington University joins the #AlleviAuthor club with their new paper titled, “Use of GelMA for 3D printing of cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts” and published in Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine.

First let’s review some basics about your heart! Heart tissue is composed of two main cell types; cardiac fibroblasts (CFB) & cardiomyocytes (CMC).

 
cardiac+myocytes+and+fibroblasts+allevi+GWU.jpg
 

Cardiomyocytes are the contracting cells which allow the heart to pump. Each cardiomyocyte needs to contract in coordination with its neighboring cells to efficiently pump blood from the heart, and if this coordination breaks down then the heart may not pump at all.

Fibroblast cells give support to the muscle tissue. They are unable to provide forceful contractions like cardiomyocytes, but instead are largely responsible for creating and maintaining the extracellular matrix which forms the mortar in which cardiomyocyte bricks are embedded. Fibroblasts also play a crucial role in responding to injury by creating collagen while gently contracting to pull the edges of the injured area together.

In previous academic studies, tests of pure populations of cardiomyoctes have failed to stay viable making it difficult to study the heart in a lab setting. In their recent paper, the team at George Washington University set out to determine how 3D bioprinting affects these two types of cells and if there is a way to create viable 3D tissue in the lab by bioprinting both CMCs and CFBs in tandem.

The team studied the effects of temperature, pressure, bioink composition, and UV exposure to determine the best conditions for 3D bioprinting heart muscle.

Through LIVE/DEAD assays, bioluminescence imaging and morphological assessment, they determined that cell survival within a 3D bioprinted CMC-laden GelMA construct was MORE sensitive to extruder pressure and bioink composition than the fibroblast-laden constructs. Also they determined that BOTH cell types were adversely impacted by the UV curing step. And finally they determined that using a mixture of cardiomyocytess and cardiac fibroblasts increased viability of the tissue- showing that CMCs <3 CFBs.

Cheers to the team at GWU! Their research creates an important foundation for future studies of 3D bioprinted heart tissue.

Read their paper here.

Allevi Author: 3D Bioprinting a Spinal Cord

neuron neuronal allevi 3d bioprinter bioprint.jpg

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.

Cosmetic Animal Testing is on its Way Out

allevi ban cosmetic animal testing 3d bioprint instead.jpg

The fight to ban animal testing recently scored a major victory when California became the first US state to pass a bill that would ban testing cosmetics on animals.

Companies conduct animal tests to determine the safety of new formulas used in cosmetic products. These tests include skin and eye irritation tests to study allergic reactions and “lethal-dose” testing to determine ingredient toxicity.

But these tests have scientific limitations because humans and animals react differently to certain chemicals. Therefore these tests, that are meant to study the safety of cosmetics before they touch human skin, aren’t even relevant.

Here at Allevi, we believe in the future of personalized cosmetic testing. Our 3D bioprinters allow researchers to customize every aspect of their study - including tissue shape, size, geometry and cell line. Imagine a world where drugs and cosmetics are no longer cruelly tested on animals, but tested on patches of human tissue. But not just any human’s tissue but YOURS because you are different from a rabbit and different from a monkey and even different from your fellow human.

We applaud California for following in the EU, Norway, Israel and India’s footsteps. It’s time we replace these outdated methods; not only because they are cruel to animals but because they are ineffective. Allevi is here to usher in a new era for a cruelty free and scientifically relevant future.

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 Author: Lattices vs Sheets for Cardiac Tissue Bioprinting

There are so many variables that go into creating viable 3d bioprinted tissues; bioink selection, print geometry, cure times, rigidity, flexibility, degradation time and cell viability to name a few. Not to mention, each of these parameters needs to be analyzed and perfected for every cell line in the body. As a community, we are still figuring out the perfect protocol for each organ system.

In a new paper out this week titled “A Comparative Study of a 3D Bioprinted Gelatin-Based Lattice and Rectangular-Sheet Structures”, our newest Allevi Authors tackled one of these lingering questions, “What is the best print structure for cardiac tissue, lattice or sheet?”

Researchers at University of Texas El Paso and University of Texas at Austin used their Allevi 2 bioprinter and furfuryl gelatin to study and compare 3d bioprinted lattices vs sheets. Through their comparison, they discovered that the lattice structure was more porous with enhanced rheological properties and exhibited a lower degradation rate compared to the rectangular-sheet.

Further, the lattice allowed cells to proliferate to a greater extent compared to the rectangular-sheet. All of these results collectively affirmed that the lattice poses as a superior scaffold design for tissue engineering applications.

Read the full paper here to learn more about the rigorous testing and analysis the team conducted during their study.