“We found that the valve-based printing is gentle enough to maintain high stem cell viability, accurate enough to produce spheroids of uniform size, and most importantly, the printed hESCs maintained their pluripotency - the ability to differentiate into any other cell type."
Entries in bioprinting (31)
by General Fabb
Although controversial in the US, stem cell research offers some of the best opportunities to produce breakthrough medical discoveries, including growing tailor made replacement organs.
In a new development for bioprinting, Dr, Will Shu of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh said,
Read more at ENGINEERING.com
Not satisfied with printing in plastic? Why not print ACTUAL LIVING CELLS? You can today if you can execute the Instructable created by BioCurious, which you can build for the incredibly low cost of USD$150. Simply acquire the necessary parts and follow all the assembly steps.
This hack involves combining parts from a leftover inkjet printer, used CD drive, inkShield and an Arduino to control the device. After completion, you'll be able to print living cells in 2D patterns, as you can see above.
Unfortunately there is no Z-axis on this machine, but we imagine that would introduce spectacular complexities beyond the machine itself: What 3D living structures would you print? How do you model them? How do you store and deliver multiple kinds of cells required for complex living structures? Should scaffolding be used? What is the scaffolding made of? And so on.
Nevertheless, it's a real BioPrinter and you can have one on your desk. Be the first.
According to a press release from bioprinting startup Organovo, they've partnered with CAD software giant Autodesk to produce tools specifically designed for creating bioprints.
Why this makes sense to us:
- Autodesk is one of, if not the, leader in 3D design software across the industry. If anyone was to tackle this problem, it would be Autodesk, who have the skills and size to experiment with an entirely new 3D modeling problem.
- Organovo desperately needs this. As all 3D printer owners quickly realize, the problem is not the printer, it's what you print on it. Where do the 3D models come from? There is no Thingiverse for bioprints. This software, if successful, could enable the creation of many new bio-models that could increase Organovo's market.
There's one thing we're wondering about. In typical 3D printer control systems, there's usually a "BUILD" button to initiate the layer construction process. But when you're printing Living Tissue, should it really say "BUILD"? Or something else?
While rapid prototyping of mechanical parts is still the mainstay of 3D printing, recent adoption of the technology by biomedical researchers has sparked interest in how additive manufacturing might be used in the future.
Doug Hendrie at Gizmag recently profiled a new advancement that couples 3D printing with tissue engineering.
Read More at Engineering.com
Scientists at the Vienna Institute of Technology have developed a new technique they call "Photografting", which promises to enable significant advances in bioprinting.
The new technique involves starting with a hydrogel, a porous material in which other molecules can be placed. Lasers then focus on specific spots within the 3D hydrogel and break apart molecular bonds. At these breakpoints new molecules can be easily and rapidly attached. This means one can place specific molecules at specific locations. A bio-designer could then create a model with the right biological structures embedded in the object, a feat not really feasible with today's conventional 3D printing approaches.
Via Science Daily
A new bioprinting startup suddenly appeared: Modern Meadow, courtesy of a small investment by Internet billionaire Peter Thiel. It's goal is to develop lab-grown "food grade animal protein", also known as "meat". The idea is to produce the protein without the massive environmental cost of actual cows, pigs and other meat-laden critters. Their one-line pitch reads:
Applying latest advances in tissue engineering to create meat and leather without the need to raise, slaughter and transport animals.
This is an interesting and possibly necessary development in the long term, but research we've heard of suggests the current state of the art in lab-grown beef is that it's not particularly edible. The texture is the issue. Or rather lack thereof.
Perhaps this could be solved by using 3D bioprinting techniques, which could theoretically arrange beefy bits into appropriate 3D meat sinews? One company we know is investigating that technology is Organovo, of whom we're written a few posts lately.
But wait! If we look at the list of management for Modern Meadow, we find Andras and Gabor Forgacs, the CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Organovo. Are they still at Organovo? Organovo's site says: "Prof. Forgacs continues to closely advise Organovo", and there is no mention of Andras.
What does this mean? We're not sure, but after the recent spectacular rise and sudden fall of Organovo's stock, it may suggest investors be wary.
A few short weeks ago we wrote a piece entitled, "What's With Organovo?", in which we pondered why the stock price of this bioprinting startup soared beyond belief. It seemed at the time there was no reasonable explanation for the stock price's stratospheric behavior.
This week the answer has appeared: there really was no reason for the stock to be that high. From the soaring heights of a price near USD$11, the price has now collapsed back to its apparently "normal" level just under USD$2 per share. Seeking Alpha writes:
The company is loaded up with debt, bleeding cash and generates little to no revenue. While the technology is amazing and the potential is huge, right now the company is generous in its filings when it says it will be able to pay the bills for the next 12 months.
That said, Seeking Alpha goes on to say that in the long term this company may gradually build up to its potential, but that investors had better be aware of what they're getting into.
We're staying on the sidelines, too.
Via Seeking Alpha
A new breakthrough in medical 3D printing: researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a method of creating living tissue using 3D printing technology.
The researchers were concerned with the limitations of current bioprinting techniques, which are able to print layers of living tissue, but are less able to create the necessary vasculature (i.e. blood vessels) that ensure the living tissue stays living.
Their solution is actually quite straightforward: 3D print a "negative" of the desired blood vessels using sugar. This print would represent the spaces through which blood would flow. Then a solution of living cells is poured around the sugary framework. The cells then tend to grow around the sugar structure in the correct positions to assume the shape of the required blood vessels. Finally, the sugar dissolves leaving the tissue and vasculature.
The researchers determined by experiment the correct sugary formulation, which turned out to be a mix of sucrose, glucose and a dash of dextran to ensure solidity. The part we found most interesting was the device they printed the sugary framework with: a modified RepRap open source 3D printer!
This technique could vastly simplify the eventual production of more complex living tissue. But will you be able to do so with your home 3D printer?
Bioprinting is something you'll be hearing a lot more about in the future. It's the application of 3D printing for medical purposes.
The idea is to produce human tissue for replacement of damaged portions, but it's much more complicated than 3D printing simple plastic objects. Not only are you dealing with microscopic bits, but they are also alive!
The process typically involves printing a "scaffold" made of a dissolvable material that supports the actual living cells extracted from the patient to avoid "tissue rejection". The cells then grow over the scaffold and when it eventually dissolves, you've got tissue cells organized in the correct manner. Additional complexities arrive when you consider that human organs involve many different kinds of cells, unlike typical 3D printed plastic objects that are made from a single material.
ABC News interviewed Dr. Anthony Atala, who's leading a team of 300 researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina. He's been experimenting with growing replacement organs based on cells from the patient and has been quite successful. Starting from growing a replacement human bladder in 1998, the team is now testing 30 different human organs and various body tissues. For example, they've developed techniques to seal battle wounds by printing healthy skin cells over the damaged area. They're still working on actual organs, which obviously are much more complex.
Is this approach ready for regular hospital use? Not quite. It still involves significant work by teams of people to ensure a successful result. However, as research continues it's likely efficiencies will be identified and implemented, leading to a future where you'll be able to grow your own replacements.
You may recall Organovo? They're a bioprinting startup that is attempting to 3D print a variety of biological tissues, including Actual Human Organs! They say:
Organovo's powerful NovoGen Bioprinting platform creates human tissues starting with any cell source. From disease models to tissue creation, bioprinting solves urged needs in biological research.
Their goal is to bioprint whole human organs, but they've been surviving by bioprinting simple tissue on scaffolds used for drug testing. This hasn't been vastly profitable, as far as we can see: their most recent financial statement indicated they suffered a USD$4.4M loss in 2011, somewhat worse than their 2010 loss of USD$1.3M.
In the past few weeks their stock price has risen sharply from the near penny-stock range of $1.50 to just under $10. Why has their stock risen by a factor of six?
The media coverage has exploded in recent days, including articles from sbdn, Investment U, The Atlantic, Seeking Alpha and KapitallWire. Even the White House has said a few words about it, with VP Joe Biden saying, "It’s literally around the corner."
What's going on with Organovo? We see only that they've hired a new chief strategy officer, Dr. Eric Michael David and prior to that had beefed up their management team slightly.
Do you know something we don't know?