Humabiologics introduced the world’s first native human collagen bioinks and gelatin bioinks. These bioinks are affordable and more clinically relevant, enabling researchers to advance the translational research of bioprinted human organs and tissues.
The company was founded by current CEO Mohammad Albanna, leveraging extensive experience in the field of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (as Adjunct Professor of General Surgery at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine). Leveraging proprietary processes to manufacture its products, Humabiologics only partners with FDA-registered and accredited tissue banks around the US to utilize thoroughly screened donated human tissue that will not be used for transplant. Humabiologics product offering includes native human collagen, bone gelatin, and extracellular matrix. These human-derived products are designed to address several ongoing challenges.
“Humabiologics introduced the world’s first native human collagen and gelatin 3D bioink to address the shortcomings of the currently available animal-derived bioinks,” Dr. Mohammad Albanna, CEO and Founder of Humanbiologics, exclusively told to 3dpbm. “Humabiologics human products have been shown to have different biological response compared to animal-derived biomaterials, which provide researchers with a realistic response similar to what they will see in humans, expediting the translational of therapies to humans and saving cost.”
Collagen type I is the most abundant protein in the human body and has been extensively used as a biomaterial for tissue engineering applications. Collagen derivatives such as gelatin have been also used for various regenerative medicine applications such as bioprinting, growing cells, disease modeling, drug screening, and many due to their attractive biological properties.
Most of the current sources of collagen and gelatin come from animal tissue such as skin, bone, tendons, ligaments from cows, pigs, rats and fish. While there are some similarities between human and animal collagen, minor variations in collagen composition can result in significant differences in the properties of collagen and impact the cellular response and the formation of tissue.
The use of animal products in research can lead to poor translation aspects, irrelevant outcomes, and potential FDA regulatory hurdles that can slow the development of life science innovations. Alternatives to animal collagen sources include recombinant human collagen. Recombinant human collagen is produced in the lab through a time-consuming, often expensive and complicated process that involves using the collagen gene and cloning it in protein-expressing systems such as cells, yeast or bacteria and then purifying it.
While the process aims to resemble the chemical structure of collagen through a more consistent process than animal collagen, it does not provide similar biological properties as native collagen. It is cost-prohibitive and limited by the amount of collagen that can be reduced to practical levels of creating scalable human tissue and organs. Most of the commercially available animal collagen sources are available in solution forms, which sometimes limits the ability to tailor the bioinks to their desired biological and mechanical needs.
“Several renowned research groups have transitioned from using animal biomaterials to human biomaterials due to the superior results and affordability,” Dr. Albanna continued. “I have had the honor of working in the tissue and blood banking sector for many years and have witnessed firsthand the impact of how hundreds of people can enjoy their lives with their loved ones because of the courageous gift of organ, tissue, eye and blood from donor heroes. Humabiologics is among the few companies—Albanna added—if not the only company, in the world that partners with tissue banks to give the gift of tissue donation a new and bigger life when transplant is not possible. We bridge the gap between donated human tissues and medical research by providing native human-derived biomaterials that are more clinically & physiologically relevant to develop new therapies. We provide products that have long been needed but unfortunately were not accessible to researchers. Humabiologics introduced the world’s first native human bioinks.”
The successful use of the first native human collagen bioink was published by Vipuil Kishore’s team at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in a paper titled “In vitro characterization of xeno-free clinically relevant human collagen and its applicability in cell-laden 3D bioprinting”. The authors used lyophilized human collagen derived from human skin. They were able to create several formulas of bioinks. The advantage of using lyophilized collagen provided researchers with the ability to tailor the properties of collagen to meet their specific therapy needs. The paper demonstrated the successful use of human collagen to print stable structures using bone cancer cells, which was not possible with animal collagen unless higher concentration or further processing of collagen is employed. The paper also showed structural differences between human and animal collagen. The results provided an impetus for using human-derived collagen as a viable alternative to animal collagen sources for 3D bioprinting of clinically relevant scaffolds for tissue engineering applications.