Aleph Objects, Inc., Colorado-based manufacturer of the line of LulzBot 3D Printers, announced the launch of the LulzBot Bio, an open source, FRESH-certified 3D bioprinter. The LulzBot Bio enables 3D printing with materials such as unmodified collagen, bioinks, and other soft materials, and has already been instrumental in 3D printing functional human heart tissue.
“What we’ve shown is that we can print pieces of the heart out of cells and collagen into parts that truly function, like a heart valve or a small beating ventricle,” said Adam Feinberg, professor of biomedical engineering (BME) and materials science & engineering at Carnegie Mellon. “By using MRI data of a human heart, we were able to accurately reproduce patient-specific anatomical structure and 3D bioprint collagen and human heart cells.”
The LulzBot Bio uses Fluid Deposition Fabrication (FDF). The Bio’s syringe pump system allows for precise stopping and retraction, preventing unintentional extrusion and stringing while printing intricate models like vasculature. Its easily-modified, Open Source design removes proprietary restrictions.
“For researchers, you don’t know what materials or processes you’ll be using in 6 months, let alone one year from now,” said Grant Flaharty, Aleph Objects CEO and President. “You need hardware that can be adjusted quickly and easily, without proprietary restrictions.”
The LulzBot Bio comes with nearly everything needed to start bioprinting, including extensively tested, preconfigured material profiles in Cura LulzBot Edition.
Collagen: the human body’s major structural protein
Collagen is prominent in biological structures, making collagen bioinks one of the more promising materials for bioprinting applications. However, it has proven difficult to print with in its unmodified form. The LulzBot Bio enables printing with unmodified collagen using the FRESH 2.0 method. Developed and refined by the Regenerative Biomaterials & Therapeutics Group at Carnegie Mellon University, FRESH bioprinting uses thermoreversible support gels to hold soft materials during printing. The temporary support gel is dissolved, leaving the print intact.
“Other bioprinting techniques often require materials to be chemically altered or mixed with other materials to make them 3D printable,” said Steven Abadie, Aleph Objects CTO. “Because of the excellent biocompatibility of collagen, being able to 3D print with it in its original form brings us that much closer to recreating models that mimic human physiology.”
Bioprinting is revolutionizing pharmaceutical development, cosmetic testing, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. This technology can be used to recreate physiology to study disease, determine the effectiveness and potential side effects of new drugs in development, and provide skin tissue models for cosmetic testing.
The development of 3D bioprinting provides a more human-relevant alternative in both pharmaceutical and cosmetic testing. To date, over 40 countries worldwide have banned or restricted animal testing on cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients, which has accelerated the development of bioprinted human tissue for cosmetic development.
The LulzBot Bio is now available for pre-order, with units to begin shipping November 2019.
Aleph Objects, Inc.