Leaders in 3D Bioprinting
The researchers at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden are somewhat of the nation’s pioneers in 3D-bioprinting. They act as a collaboration hub for companies and academic groups to work with interesting research projects within bioplotting.
3D-printing, or additive manufacturing as it’s also called, using metals and polymers have become so common that it’s no longer a hype. In the field of medicine, however, there’s still plenty to do, and right now almost all efforts in this area are concentrated on finding the right biomaterial substrate.
3D-bioprinting could be used for dental applications or for developing animal free models for pharmaceutical tests as well as investigations of disease mechanisms. However, in the clinic the ultimate goal of bioprinting is to produce functional human organs for transplantation.
”There’s still a very long way to go before we can actually print entire functional human organs from 3D CAD models. Today, we’re able to grow organoids or mini organs, i.e. three-dimensional organ-buds, to test proof of concept, without the use of animal models, and we ought to be able to print such human organoids in a relatively short timeframe,” says Yalda Bogestål at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
The US, UK, Canada and Germany are ahead in this field, which is relatively new in Sweden. Joakim Ålgårdh at SP is, for instance, one of only two PhDs in Sweden who made their doctoral dissertation on 3D-printing.
”In Sweden, it’s only us and Chalmers that have 3D-Bioplotters. We’re a collaboration hub for research groups and companies and we have close collaboration with KTH, North Carolina State University and University of Illinois to develop suitable material for bioprinting,” he says.
Simple Organs Will Be Printed First
Skin and cartilage have relatively simpler structures compared to heart, kidney and liver, which are highly vascularised, and the researchers at SP think that these organs are the first to be printed.
”The greatest advantage of bioprinted human tissue today, is that it can be used for pre-clinical screening and testing of the effects of drug candidates. Compared to the available animal models, it gives more predictive results that correspond with the response in the actual human body. Bioprinted tissues can also be used to investigate long-term toxicological effects. Besides, some drugs cannot be tested on animal models since such tests give inconsistent and erroneous results,” says Yalda Bogestål.
”Using bioprinted human tissues, could reduce the cost of the drug testing process and hopefully bring safer medicines to the market sooner,” says Joakim Håkansson at SP.
In 2011, The European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL-ECVAM) was established, due to the increasing need for new methods to be developed and proposed for validation in the European Union. SP is a member of this network, as the only commercial GLP laboratory from Sweden.
The SP Group is the broadest-based research institute in Sweden. Their 1,400 employees develop and mediate technology to over 10,000 customers. On September 25th, Yalda Bogestål and her colleagues will expand the Life Science and Medtech activity now located in Borås to new facilities in the Biotech building at Arvid Wallgrens backe in Gothenburg.
Yalda Bogestål, PhD, Research Scientist.
Joakim Ålgårdh, PhD, Research Scientist.
Joakim Håkansson. JPG:
Joakim Håkansson, PhD, Research Scientist.