Bioprinting a Kidney: Hope or Hype

Organ shortage remains as a global crisis with no sight of a decrease in demand. In the US alone, the current number of people on a waitlist for organ transplantation stands at over 120,000 and >83% are awaiting for kidney transplants [1]. Of those requiring transplants, only ~17% receive a kidney transplant, ~5% will die and the remaining 78% are still on the waitlist.
Kidney transplants is not the end-all be-all Even if you were the lucky 13%, having a new transplant means you have to be on immunosuppresive drugs for the rest of their lives to minimize organ rejection and continue to be vigilant with their health.
The other option For those who are less fortunate, which is the majority, they have to be on dialysis. This means you will have to go to a treatment center for hemodialysis every 2-3 days to get your blood filtered. For those who choose home-based treatment, either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, this will have to be done everyday. Dialysis treatment affects the qu…

How can Bioprinted Tissue Models help develop drugs for COVID-19?

Bioprinting Tissue Models The advent of bioprinted three-dimensional (3D) tissue models for drug discovery and development has been propelled by the lack of predictive in vitro systems and animal models for testing efficacy and safety of new drugs. Fortunately, as bioprinting tools have become more advanced and our knowledge-base continues to increase, the level of sophistication, precision and complexity of today's bioprinted tissue models are moving closer toward a reality - an in vivo like system that is representative of the human body ex vivo.

Given how everything has been evolving and revolving around COVID-19, let's take a moment to highlight recent developments specific to bioprinting including ones that are targeted toward finding a solution for COVID-19. Tissue Models for COVID-19 Lung Tissue Model Last week, Viscient Biosciences announced that the company is leveraging their unique approach to bioprint and develop a lung tissue model to screen drugs against COVID-1…

Bioprinting the Lymph Node to generate antibodies against COVID-19

Race against COVID-19 Since the pandemic, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop diagnostic kits, vaccines and treatments to combat COVID-19. Antibodies, more specifically neutralizing antibodies that can bind to the virus, can help reduce and prevent infection against SARS-CoV-2. This can serve as a prevention for those of us who have not yet been infected or after recovery and reduce effects of those who are infected and in the road to recovery.

Now, some of you might wonder, so how is bioprinting going to help create antibodies?
Bioprinting a Synthetic Lymph Node  Enter Prellis Biologics, a Bay Area early-stage venture backed bioprinting company who proposed that they can bioprint a synthetic mini lymph node that will induce immune cells to create human antibodies that are effective against SARS-CoV-2. The beauty of this approach is that there is no need to infect anyone or leverage large screening libraries, and in only 4 weeks, they can isolate a pandemic-sto…

New materials for freeform (FRESH) Bioprinting

FRESH bioprinting  The beginning Bioprinting of soft materials such as hydrogels have long been impaired by their inability to hold its own form, rendering them "unprintable". Thankfully, in 2015, TJ Hinton and Adam Feinberg published a Science paper introducing the idea of FRESH bioprinting. The term "FRESH" stands for freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels and herein they introduced the idea of using a thermo-reversible support bath to enable in situ bioprinting of complex 3D biological structures. The beauty of this technique lies in the freedom to print complex structures including overhangs while being supported by the temporary gel bath. This breakthrough innovation has truly enable researchers around the world to bioprint complex and intricate structures out of soft biological materials such as collagen, thus pulling off additive manufacturing of realistic tissue models like never before.

This video demonstration shows the FRESH printing techn…

Bioprinting bionic corals of the future

Bioprinting algae? How it all began... In 2015, a group of researchers at the Institute of Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering and the Center for Translational Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Research at the Technische Universitat Dresden (TUD) in Germany introduced the idea of "Green Bioprinting". Using bioprinting, they immobilized microalgae in hydrogels made of alginate and methylcellulose, and demonstrated that they were able to achieve stable growth, in contrast to suspension cultures that were dependent on temperature and illumination conditions. Practical applications of this work would include bioproduction of photosynthetic microorganisms for renewable energy, chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs. To learn about this work - read more.
Today... Fast forward 5 years later, a group of researchers from UC San Diego and University of Cambridge showed how microalgae can be bioprinted to create bionic corals of the future - read more. By using a very unique approach, thi…

Kickstart 2020 with a Beginner course in Bioprinting

Curious about Bioprinting? Are you someone with a curious mind who has always wondered what bioprinting is all about? You may have heard about bioprinting over the news or came across an article describing all the amazing possibilities that this technology can deliver. Bioprinting full organs for future organ replacement. Is it true? Can this be real?

To help people demystify these stories and get a grounded understanding of the technology, SE3D actually launched an online introductory course in bioprinting a few years ago. The first version was launched in 2018 and I have recently revamped the course, improved some of the content and recently launched this on Udemy. Within the first week, over 50 students have signed up as the first cohort and I love to see more interest.
Bioprinting: A beginner course A quick nutshell of what you will learn in this course. This beginner course will cover the most basic concepts and provide key terminologies that are used in the bioprinting field. T…

Changing the face of 3D Printing, Biotech, and Additive Manufacturing with Dr. Shweta Agarwala

Interviewed by Cecillia Wong

Dr. Shweta Agarwala is a research scientist at Singapore Centre for 3D Printing in Nayang Technological University. She combines her multidisciplinary knowledge in electronics, materials science, manufacturing and bio-engineering for materials and new-age products catering to wearables, flexible electronics and bioelectronics. She is a leading innovator in 3D printing and additive manufacturing space for electronics and biotechnology.

Cecillia: Tell us about some of the exciting things your lab is currently working on.
Dr. Agarwala: My current research is directed towards bioprinting, bioelectronics, and printed electronics. My rendezvous with bioprinting is quite new and I am trying to understand how process control can be exploited to arrange multi-materials in desired architectures and incorporate additional functionalities with full spatial control. I am especially passionate about bioelectronics, an area of research that promises to bring two distinct …