New Findings

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.

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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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.

The Disruption Continues at TERMIS, with Allevi 2

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Last week was a big week for bioprinting and tissue engineering. You may have heard that we officially came out of Beta and launched the most advanced 3D bioprinter ever created, we call it Allevi 2. You can check out the amazing design and read more about the specs on our website.

We really could not have built this system without the support of our early Beta clients, you guys have been amazing at getting us the right feedback and making sure that we continue to blow the competition out of the water.  We’re happy to be able to embrace new members into our community of pioneers uncovering the greatest mystery of our generation – life.

Our goal at Allevi has always been to create standards and modular systems that can engineer biology to cure disease, eliminate the organ waiting list, revert climate change and push humans to live on other planets. We can’t wait to see what all of our old friends and new users will build, now that they have access to the most powerful biofabrication tool and fastest growing bioprinting community ever created.

On the Horizon: The First 3D Bioprinted Organ Transplant

3D bioprinters are steadily becoming a staple in research and health settings around the world—and Russian researchers from the 3D Bioprinting Solutions lab just outside Moscow are proving just how powerful they can be.

Their aim is to perform the first transplant of a 3D bioprinted organ. The organ of choice? A thyroid gland, due to its relative simplicity. If the operation succeeds and the thyroid is accepted by the patient’s body, the lab will work on transplanting a 3D bioprinted kidney in the coming years.

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The thyroid will be printed using fat-derived stem cells, and a hydrogel. Since the patient’s own stem cells will be used, the hope is that the resulting thyroid gland will not be rejected by their body.

Head of research at the lab, Vladimir Mironov, is excited by the prospect of applying this technology to kidneys: “The one who will be the first to print and then successfully transplant the kidney to the patient - who will stay alive - will for sure get a Nobel prize.”

The whole 3D bioprinting community, including us here at Allevi, has high hopes for the operation. It’s success could be a huge watershed moment in medical history.