The medical AM segment is multifaceted, consisting of 3D printed medical devices, anatomical models, prosthetics and more. Within the industry, bioprinting has carved out a prominent position, gaining interest across the board for its huge potentials in drug development and screening, therapeutic treatments and regenerative medicine, to name but a few. While much of the excitement surrounding bioprinting is focused on the future, we want to look at what is happening now in the field that is exciting.
As part of our Medical AM Focus, we asked bioprinting leaders from across the sector what they considered to be the most exciting thing about bioprinting today. In this segment, we hear from Swedish bioprinting company CELLINK.
CELLINK was founded in 2016 by Erik Gatenholm and Hector Martinez and came into the industry with the first universal bioink material. Today, the company offers some of the industry’s most popular bioprinting products, including its BIO X and INKREDIBLE bioprinter ranges. The company’s technologies have enabled researchers all over the globe to pursue bioprinting applications for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and medical segments.
One of the main tenets of CELLINK’s business is to make bioprinting more accessible, to create more research opportunities using the technology.
“Bioprinting is rapidly permeating into many different fields across research disciplines,” CELLINK tells us. “The BIO X system has allowed this bioprinting technology to become available to more and more labs at a lower cost. While there are many exciting applications upcoming, there are a few that have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of diseases. Researchers in recent decades have begun to explore the use of three-dimensional cell culture to develop more biomimetic culturing environments for cells.”
The way CELLINK sees it, bioprinting is unlocking new opportunities in three-dimension cell culture because of its unique ability to fabricate structures in an automated, controllable way. Before bioprinting, cellular matrices had to be built manually using pipettes, which inevitably came with a high risk of error and was time consuming. Bioprinting and—as CELLINK emphasizes—the Bio X enable this type of production to be carried out 24 hours a day and with a high degree of accuracy.
“Furthermore, the technology can enable the fabrication of more complicated three-dimensional cell culture environments that facilitate cell-cell interactions, gradient structures and stratified tissues that allow the development and testing of novel therapeutics,” it adds. “These engineered environments can mimic the native tissue architecture in the lab so that researchers can tailor therapies toward patient specific disease states built from the patient’s own tissues and cells.”
The Swedish bioprinting firm adds: “What is particularly exciting is where this technology fits in with other CELLINK technology such as the nanoliquid dispenser, the IDOT one and the single cell dispenser, the x.sight series, and the live-cell imager, the CELLCYTE. The portfolio begins to form an entire biofabrication/3D cell culture pipeline that will disrupt the industry. We hope to enable researchers to make the next big discovery for cancer or heart disease using this new 3D cell culture pipeline.”
CELLINK’s bioprinting products have been used by researchers from various institutions. At Uppsala University, for instance, researchers are developing bioprinted human pancreatic islets, while the University of Pavia is studying cell differentiation and muscle fiber physiology using CELLINK’s FIBRIN bioink. Commercial users of CELLINK’s technology include pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, Merck, the U.S. Army and more.