Aleph Objects launches new LulzBot 3D bioprinter

Thursday October 10, 2019 0 comments Tags: Loveland, Aleph Objects, LulzBot, Grant Flaharty, Steven Abadie, bioprinter, LulzBot Bio

LOVELAND -- Aleph Objects, Inc. announced the launch of the LulzBot Bio, a new Open Source, FRESH-certified 3D bioprinter.Aleph_Objects_logoUSE 

Aleph said 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 the first-ever fully 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 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."

With a legacy of manufacturing high-quality 3D printers spanning nearly a decade, LulzBot said it is bringing its award-winning print quality to the bioprinting market with the LulzBot Bio, its first-ever Fluid Deposition Fabrication (FDF) 3D printer.

Unlike its pneumatic counterparts, 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, providing a versatile platform for innovation that grows with ever-changing discoveries and advancements, the company said.

“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 is prominent in biological structures, making collagen bioinks one of the most promising materials for bioprinting applications. However, it has proven extremely difficult to print with in its unmodified form.

Aleph said 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.”

Aleph said 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.

Aleph said bringing a new drug to market with current methods costs around $2.5 billion and can take more than a decade from start to finish. The probability of success is less than 10-15% despite promising results in early stages with animal testing, as the absence of toxicity in animals is a poor predictor of efficacy in humans.

The development of 3D bioprinting provides a more human-relevant alternative in both pharmaceutical and cosmetic testing, Aleph said.

To date, more than 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.

Aleph Objects said the LulzBot Bio is available for pre-order with units to begin shipping in November.