Business area

Bioprinting

Enabling the future of life-saving treatments through bioprinting of tissues and organs.
3D bioprinting is revolutionizing tissue engineering and the future of health. BICO's Bioprinting business area provides the most cutting edge technologies, to the brightest minds, to enable this future.

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What is Bioprinting?

Bioprinting is an additive manufacturing process similar to conventional 3D printing – it uses a digital file as a blueprint to print an object in a variety of geometries and sizes. But unlike 3D printing, bioprinters print with cells and biomaterials, creating organ-like structures that mimic physiological conditions

Why Bioprinting?

Bioprinting has massive potential to revolutionize the fields of tissue engineering, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. Bioprinted tissue enable researchers to test potential treatments and evaluate efficacy in earlier stages, and providing a more realistic model of cellular function. In time, new drugs and treatments can be developed following a process designed to minimize failures, reduce animal testing and reach clinical trials faster.
Bioprinting helps address the major challenge faced by cell biologists around the world. The challenge of recapitulating the in vivo environment. By controlling both macro and micro features, bioprinters enable researchers to fine tune geometries, cell positioning, biomechanical gradients and many more parameters that provide the ideal biological environment for cells to thrive.

Applications of Bioprinting

Organ Printing

Unfortunately, 21 patients per day die due to organ transplant shortages. Being able to bioprint organs could help clinicians keep up with patients or eliminate the list entirely. While this solution is far down the line, it is one of the most impactful possibilities in the field.

Drug development
Many of today’s studies rely on living subjects – an inconvenient and expensive method for both academic and commercial organizations. Bioprinted tissues can be used instead during the early stages, providing a more ethical and cost-effective solution. Using bioprintined tissue can help researchers determine a drug candidate’s efficacy sooner, enabling them to save money and time.
Regenerative medicine
A lot of tissue-specific bioinks are available today, enabling researchers to work with artificial skin cells, neurons, hepatocytes and more. One day, clinicians could use these models for therapeutic procedures like skin grafts, bone bandages for combat wounds or even plastic surgery.

Bioprinting by Numbers

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Customer Spotlights

Minimizing the risk of transpant rejection
On-demand Bioprinted Patient-specific Heart Tissue
Dr. Carmine Gentile’s lab in Sydney is developing bioprinted heart tissue on demand with patient-specific cells to minimize the risk of transplant rejection.

There is currently no way to repair damaged heart muscles from heart attacks, so many patients around the world wait on long heart transplant lists. Even for the lucky few who find a matching donor, there are more hurdles (i.e., organ viability, geographical distance, immune rejection). Therefore, heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, 17.9 million lives are lost each year to cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Carmine Gentile, leader of the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), announced in 2020 that his lab had “developed a technology that can 3D model and bioprint personalized hearts for transplantation, using the patient’s own stem cells so that there’s no risk of rejection.” Specifically, the technology identified the optimal conditions for cells to create blood vessels within bioprinted heart patches.

There is currently no way to repair damaged heart muscles from heart attacks, so many patients around the world wait on long heart transplant lists. Even for the lucky few who find a matching donor, there are more hurdles (i.e., organ viability, geographical distance, immune rejection). Therefore, heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, 17.9 million lives are lost each year to cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Carmine Gentile, leader of the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), announced in 2020 that his lab had “developed a technology that can 3D model and bioprint personalized hearts for transplantation, using the patient’s own stem cells so that there’s no risk of rejection.” Specifically, the technology identified the optimal conditions for cells to create blood vessels within bioprinted heart patches.

Read more on cellink.com →

“We are using the patient’s own stem cells so that there’s no risk of rejection.”

 

Dr. Carmine Gentile

Getting personal
Carcinotech is bioprinting patient-specific tumor models for individualized drug testing

To address the need for personalized oncology drug testing, CEO Ishani Malhotra founded Carcinotech, the Edinburgh-based biotech that is bioprinting patient-specific testing models with cells from biopsy samples. Find out how these ingenious researchers benefited from expert support from CELLINK, a BICO company.

 

Why is Breast Cancer Awareness month important to you?

The annual breast cancer awareness campaign helps women and men (who also suffer from breast cancer) understand the importance of self-checking and scheduling lab tests to catch the disease early. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also a chance to highlight the amazing progress researchers are making to develop more treatments options for breast cancer.

Why is Breast Cancer Awareness month important to you?

The annual breast cancer awareness campaign helps women and men (who also suffer from breast cancer) understand the importance of self-checking and scheduling lab tests to catch the disease early. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also a chance to highlight the amazing progress researchers are making to develop more treatments options for breast cancer.

Read full story on cellink.com →

Breast cancer construct

“Carcinotech’s testing model also makes it possible to screen thousands of potential cancer drug compounds in a high-throughput manner, with disease models that more accurately replicate human tissue and minimize the use of animals for preclinical testing”

 

Ishani Malhotra, CEO Carcinotech

Mass produced stem cells:
A gateway to
personalized medicine​

Ronawk T-blocks are disrupting the industry by enabling the production of adult stem cells in large quantities.

The study of adult stem cells has increased exponentially because of recent technological innovations in the life sciences, especially within the field of bioprinting. The array of applications under consideration runs the gamut—from reversing baldness to managing diabetes to transplanting personalized bioprinted organoids.

With the latter, researchers are envisioning culturing a patient’s own adult stem cells to create viable organoids that could be transplanted into the patient with no need for the long-term immunosuppressant drugs they would have taken with a donated organ.

The study of adult stem cells has increased exponentially because of recent technological innovations in the life sciences, especially within the field of bioprinting. The array of applications under consideration runs the gamut—from reversing baldness to managing diabetes to transplanting personalized bioprinted organoids.

With the latter, researchers are envisioning culturing a patient’s own adult stem cells to create viable organoids that could be transplanted into the patient with no need for the long-term immunosuppressant drugs they would have taken with a donated organ.

Read more on cellink.com →

“The tissue block, or T-block, is a 3D scaffold that is expandable and modular to grow stem cells. The goal is to efficiently expand a patient’s own stem cells to engineer organoids or grafts that could be used in life-saving surgeries.”

 

A.J. Mellott, PhD

Breaking barriers​
Printing vascularized skin
Today’s synthetic skin graft products accelerate wound healing but eventually fall off because they never integrate with the patient’s skin tissue. The absence of a functioning vascular system in the synthetic grafts is a significant barrier.

Karande and his team have developed a bioink made up of human endothelial cells, human pericyte cells and animal collagen. They used the CELLINK BIO X and Temperature Controlled Printhead to ensure that these constructs could be printed.

This combination of key elements enabled the cells to start communicating and more importantly begin forming a biologically relevant vascular structure within the span of a few weeks. Once blood vessels formed, nutrients and waste could be exchanged to keep the graft alive. The groups significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations.

Karande and his team have developed a bioink made up of human endothelial cells, human pericyte cells and animal collagen. They used the CELLINK BIO X and Temperature Controlled Printhead to ensure that these constructs could be printed.

This combination of key elements enabled the cells to start communicating and more importantly begin forming a biologically relevant vascular structure within the span of a few weeks. Once blood vessels formed, nutrients and waste could be exchanged to keep the graft alive. The groups significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations.

Read more on cellink.com →

“…we could potentially even think of using this as a therapy for burn victims.”

 

Pankaj Karande
Associate Professor

Changing the Future of Women’s Health
More relevant alternative to testing women’s personal care products on animals.

Good Clean Love is advocating for the use of a 3D model of human tissue developed by MatTek as a more relevant alternative to testing women’s personal care products on animals.

Although available over the counter (OTC) in US drugstores, personal lubricants are classified as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As such, these intimate products are subject to regulatory requirements that include animal-based skin sensitization toxicity testing, like in vivo rabbit vaginal irritation (RVI) and in vivo guinea pig maximization tests (Costin, 2020). But some argue that, beyond the ethical concerns, testing solely on animals is both outdated and detrimental to the health of female users because of the significant physiological differences.

Although available over the counter (OTC) in US drugstores, personal lubricants are classified as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As such, these intimate products are subject to regulatory requirements that include animal-based skin sensitization toxicity testing, like in vivo rabbit vaginal irritation (RVI) and in vivo guinea pig maximization tests (Costin, 2020). But some argue that, beyond the ethical concerns, testing solely on animals is both outdated and detrimental to the health of female users because of the significant physiological differences.

 

Read full story on mattek.com →

“There are currently so many problems with women’s healthcare products. Partly, because they depend on archaic animal testing to approve new products. A lot of research shows that animal testing results do not provide an accurate reflection of safety.”

Wendy Strgar, CEO at Good Clean Love

Publications

Our collaborators continually publish groundbreaking research that drives the knowledge, methods and results of the life sciences community as a whole. Explore this impressive roundup of the latest peer-reviewed publications that cite our bioprinters, bioinks and more.

Featured Product Offering

BIO X6™

With six printheads in total for unparalleled versatility, the BIO X6 bioprinter from CELLINK makes it easier to produce more complex and sophisticated constructs with a broader range of materials, cells and crosslinking tools. With many possible combinations, the six slots significantly increase throughput, cut down on print time and improve experiment efficiency. The BIO X6 is the preferred system for researchers seeking to enhance 3D cell culturing, tissue engineering, disease modeling and drug screening applications.

EpiDerm™

MatTek’s patented EpiDerm system is a leading in vitro testing technology for dermal toxicologists and formulation scientists. With multiple ECVAM validations and OECD accepted test guidelines, EpiDerm is a proven in vitro model system for chemical, pharmaceutical and skin care product testing.

LifeInk 220

The highest density collagen ink available on the market from Advanced Biomatrix, tailored for effortless bioprinting. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body making it the premier material for developing bioprinted constructs with in vivo like conditions.

Quantum X bio

The Quantum X bio, a true demonstration of bioconvergence. A product that is co-developed by CELLINK and Nanoscribe, it is the first of its kind 3D bioprinter, enabling submicron printing resolution, and raising the bar for high precision 3D bioprinting. Powered by Two Photon Polymerization (2PP), the system is the premier tool for miniaturizing bioprinting, redefining what it means to work within advanced biomedical applications, including tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Further Reading

3D Bioprinting Set To Propel Medical Research Forward

3D printing techniques are being used in medical research to establish more personalized treatment approaches and accelerate drug discovery. The technology is unlocking the potential of 3D cell culture approaches to better replicate the human body, gain a greater understanding of various cell types and, ultimately, develop patient- and organ-specific treatment pathways.

How 3D Bioprinters Are Advancing Cancer Research

Although the past decade has yielded significant reductions in the cancer death rate around the world, cancer is still the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for about 10 million deaths in 2020. This sobering statistic makes the search for more efficient cancer solutions an important priority for researchers the world over. While animal models have advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms associated with cancer and its progression, therapeutics developed with these interspecies models often fail in clinical trials because the efficacy results do not translate to humans.

Fighting to End Animal Testing

Drug and cosmetic developers are still mandated to test on animals, even if it doesn’t benefit the science. This leads to the experimentation on and death of hundreds of millions of primates, dogs, rabbits, mice and other animals. With 3D bioprinting, BICO is replacing outdated methods for drug discovery to end animal testing once and for all.

First pig-to-human heart transplant

In recent achievements, an important step to alleviate the organ donor shortage has been achieved with the first pig-to-human heart transplant. Solving the organ donor shortage is one of CELLINK’s goals with 3D bioprinting, and we look forward to how our technology will contribute to solving the shortage through 3D bioprinted organs.