3D Printing (additive manufacturing)industry news and trends
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BioBot: a Desktop 3D Printer for Living Tissue
According to the Biobots,” a Philadelphia based startup has developed a desktop 3D printer for printing biomaterials. The 3D printer called BioBot 1 was demoed at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in May 2015. Biobots was found the most innovative startup out of 48 startups at the SXSW Accelerator in Austin.
Biobot 1 uses a compressed air pneumatic system that allows it to precisely control the printing operation. Biobots has developed biomaterial that is placed in the syringe along with cells for printing. The biomaterial hardens as it is extruded. Biobot 1 uses visible blue light to cure the biomaterial. Unlike UV light, visible blue light is not harmful to living tissue. The technology can be used to 3D print living tissue such as cartilage, bone, or liver. The technology can find valuable applications in the clinical development of the drug.
Biobots aims at bringing down the cost of bioprinting significantly. Typical bioprinters cost in the range of hundred thousand dollars. Biobots managed to bring down the cost by an order of magnitude. Biobot 1 is also designed for ease of use. According to Danny Cabrera, co-founder of Biobots, “As soon as you get a BioBot, you can print something. What we’re doing is we’re saying anybody can do this. [It’s] this MakerBot of biology idea.”
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According to the Professor Gartner of UCSF,” have developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissue called organoids. The technique uses DNA to guide the assembly of cells into organoids. This technique is called DNA Programmed Assembly of Cells (DPAC). The research team created several organoid arrays mimicking human tissues such as mammary glands. The research was published in the journal Nature Methods on Aug. 31, 2015.
This technique incubates cells with snippets of single strands of DNA The DNA attaches to the cell’s outer membrane. The incubated cell attaches to other cells that are incubated with matching DNA strands. In other words, the cell doesn’t attach with other incubated cells if their DNA sequence does not match. A cell can be incubated with more than one type of DNA cells. This allows the cell to attach to different types of cells. This technique is similar to playing with Legos. A lego piece can attach to other lego pieces if they have matching sides. This simple trick allows lego pieces to be combined to build a very large variety of toys. Similarly, DPAC uses DNA strands attached to cells to create different types of organoids.
This technique can be used for therapeutic drug screening. One potential application would be that within the next couple of years, we could be taking samples of different components of a cancer patient’s mammary gland and building a model of their tissue to use as a personalized drug screening platform. Another is to use the rules of tissue growth we learn with these models to one day grow complete organs.”