'3D Bioprinting Solutions' to reveal first Russian 3D bioprinter in late October

While there are a number of areas in the field of 3D printing technology that haven't yet been mastered, one the biggest challenges currently around must be bioprinting. To be sure, there are a number of 3D bioprinters out there already – only this week we reported 3Dynamic Systems and their two bioprinters – but there is still a long way to go before this technology becomes affordable, available and commercially interesting.

But no one is doubting its potential. Not only could it become a very interesting feature for the food industry – when printing meat to replace industrial farming and all its consequences – but there are also a wide range of medical applications. Tests have shown bioprinting to be able to produce blood vessels, vascular networks, while we recently learned that the US army is looking into its possibilities for cell regeneration and organ transplants. All this makes it a very interesting subcategory in the field of 3D printing, and one we will doubtlessly hear more about in the coming years.
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This wide range of exciting applications makes the news from the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions all the more interesting. They have revealed that they will unveil their very first – and first Russian – 3D bioprinter during the Open Innovations 2014 forum. The forum will be held from the 14th to the 16th of October in Moscow, Russia, and its open to all who want to take a look.
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This Russian bioprinter, that has remained unnamed for now, will supposedly be capable of printing living, functional 3D tissue and particles necessary for organ reconstruction. Professor Vladimir Mironov, the laboratory's head of research has revealed that the printer 'uses bio-ink as well as bio-paper to make that happen. We thoroughly examined [the printer's] capability and design.'
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Supposedly, the printer has been built to expand upon the features of the 'western' bioprinting technology that has been released in the past. The professor even goes as far as claiming that there are some 'undeniable advantages' to his printer in comparison to earlier western designs. One of these, or so it has been claimed, is that any existing version of bioprinting technology can be adopted by it.
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While nothing is revealed about the bioprinter's exact features, they are evidently progressive enough to move 3D Bioprinting Solutions to apply for a patent. 'While developing this technical and engineering solution we kept in mind the restrictions of the existing world methods and ways of 3D bioprinting. The fact that we applied for a patent means that our printer has some unique features to it.'

The printer will be supplied with its own software, that is fully capable of developing 3D renderings of the biological tissue that will be printed. Supposedly, the printer itself will feature a regular Cartesian design that can move in all directions, and Mironov assures reporters that it will function 'with very high resolution'. Its five nozzles will be pumping spheroids and extruding hydrogel and biogel in successive layers to give shape to the software's design.
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While we will have to see how this will work in practise at the convention in Moscow, the professor went on to say that the various substances can be sprayed and dispensed separately to avoid exposing the living cells to the radiation used for the resins.
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Currently the team has built an ultra-modern, fully-equipped, biotechnology research laboratory in Moscow. In the process of creating thier own bio-ink, they have developed the technology of large-scale manufacturing of tissue spheroids. Meanwhile they announced that they have also developed and standardized the bio-ink manufacturing process. Next, the team will continiue their research into bioreactor and other elements of the biofabrication technological platform.

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Images credit: 3D Bioprinting Solutions

Whatever the actual printer will be capable of doing, the team behind 3D Bioprinting Solutions is creating some high expectations. For they intend to be able to print a fully-functional thyroid gland (for mice) in the spring of 2015. And 2018 will be the year when it all happens; then they hope to be capable of producing an actual human kidney suitable for transplantation. Let's see what the future brings!