The market for bioprinting is expected to triple between 2016 and 2021 [Image courtesy of Cellink]

Typically, the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they hear the term 3D bioprinting is fully 3D printed, working human organs. The thought of being able to transplant needed organs into patients without having to wait for a donated organ is a pretty exciting prospect, especially because the idea is that a patient’s own stem cells would be used to form the 3D printed organ, which means less risk of rejection. But, while there has been significant progress in developing 3D printed blood vessel networks and skin, as well as transplanting 3D printed ovaries and thyroid glands into mice, we likely won’t see 3D printed, transplantable human organs in the next few years.

But 3D printed organs are not the only innovation that 3D bioprinting is capable of – 3D printed live tissue can be used to save lives in the form of cardiac patches, special polymer inks can help create organs-on-chips, and 3D bioprinted flexible electric devices could be the precursor to soft, biocompatible power sources for implanted health monitors.

3D bioprinting can also be used to fabricate tumors for intense pharmaceutical testing, which brings me to another very useful application for the technology: drug testing and development. 3D bioprinting can be used to assess and bring new drugs to market more quickly, and as an added bonus, can remove animal testing from the equation.

Historically, many drugs were discovered by accident – scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin when a Petri dish of Staphylococcus was accidentally left out and contaminated by mold resulting from an open window – or by identifying the active ingredient from traditional remedies. In the modern world of biotechnology, medicine, and pharmacology, we call the process by which drugs are discovered and/or designed drug discovery.

Headquartered in Switzerland, 3D biotechnology company regenHU exploits the potential of cell-based therapies and 3D bioprinting to develop biomedical products for drug discovery and regenerative medicine. The company, which has an impressive line of 3D bioprinters, uses its bioprinting solutions for several multidisciplinary applications, such as microfluidics, labs-on-chips, personalized medicine, and drug screening and development. It recently appointed San Diego-based lab automation solutions provider Wako Automation as its official systems integrator for the US.

Marc Thurner, CEO of regenHU, said, “The synergies of our expertise offer a unique value solution to leading pharma & biotech innovators allowing us to individualize the specific needs of each development.”

3DDiscovery Evolution [Image: regenHU]

There have been several recent advances in the field of 3D bioprinting that offer important tools in manufacturing biomimetic tissue constructs, which can later be applied to different stages of drug discovery R&D. regenHU uses its bioprinting and biofabrication solutions to support the scientific community by enabling advancements that lead to novel clinical products and solutions. Wako Automation and regenHU will combine their best efforts in a collaboration to promote 3D bioprinting in drug discovery efforts in the US, as well as integrate 3D bioprinting solutions into existing automated drug discovery systems.

“The collaboration with regenHU will enable customers at the forefront of drug discovery to fully integrate regenHU 3D-Bioprinters into advanced drug discovery systems,” said Robert Bukar, Director of Business Development at Wako Automation.

Wako Automation specializes in laboratory automation and high content imaging; additionally, it is also a leading distributor of Yokogawa’s CV8000 flexible, confocal high content screening system. Its customers count additive manufacturing and microscopy as two of the most important components in their drug development and discovery processes.

Next month, at the SLAS Conference in San Diego, regenHU and Wako Automation will demonstrate their respective technologies together at Booth #1002, and show potential customers how they can help enhance existing biomedical solutions.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source: regenHU]

 

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