Canadian bioprinter developer Aspect Biosystems has launched a new grant program aimed at promoting the use of bioprinting in research and making it more accessible. The program, which is now accepting applications, will provide an RX1 bioprinter to two research labs at no cost for a six-month period.
The eligibility criteria for the bioprinting program is fairly straightforward: applications must be pursuing research at a university or non-profit research institute and their projects must not include clinical trials or human use. Beyond that, Aspect Biosystems is looking for research projects with scientific merit, good feasibility and a “cool factor”.
Those interested in applying for the bioprinter grant program must submit their application by October 16, 2020. The two research labs selected by the bioprinting firm will be provided with support and training from the Aspect Biosystems team as well as free access to the company’s RX1 bioprinter for six months.
The RX1 system is a microfluidic bioprinter capable of producing realistic physiological structures like human tissues for medical research, regenerative medicine and drug discovery applications. The sophisticated bioprinting platform is today in use around the world by researchers pursuing innovative projects in the neural and cardiac fields, among others. Aspect Biosystems also leverages its technology to conduct research in-house, focused on the development of tissue therapeutics for orthopedic and metabolic disorders.
When we spoke to Aspect Biosystems earlier this year as part of our Medical AM Focus 2020, the company revealed that one of the most interesting regenerative medicine applications it is exploring in its work is the production of pancreatic tissue, which could be used to treat diabetes patients.
“A patient with type 1 diabetes has a pancreas that does not perform its intended functions of secreting insulin and regulating blood sugar levels,” the company told us at the time. “Therefore, we are not aiming to create a replacement pancreas, but rather an implantable tissue therapeutic that would restore the the intended functions of the organ.
“Microfluidic-based 3D bioprinting enables the creation of well-defined microstructures, thus allowing us to print a tissue structure with specific features such as immune-protection, vascularization, or production of hormones like insulin. In the case of pancreatic tissue, microfluidics gives us the ability to print a multi-layered structure with a core of insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells (stem cell-derived beta-like cells) surrounded by an immuno-protective layer.”