MAKing Bioprinting easY
Infectious diseases can generate a great impact on the society, as demonstrated by the COVID pandemic that we are living. Vaccines and drug development are key to prevent or reduce the effects of future similar events. Proper drug development requires rigorous testing of the prototypes. The current practice mainly uses animal models, which present limitations in the clinical translatability of the results and ethical concerns. Nowadays, new in-vitro biologic models such as organoids and organs-on-a-chip, which intend to replicate the microenvironment and function of organs, can help to assess the effects of new drugs. In fact, researchers have already started to use them for the testing of the COVID vaccines. Although organoids are simplified and miniaturized versions of organs, they require a careful replication of the structure and distribution of the cells that conform the organ to resemble their function and behaviour. Researchers have previously produced them by hand but they are now transitioning to methods that allow more accurate, controlled and repetitive generation of those biologic models, such as bioprinting. Bioprinting is based on the utilization of 3d printing techniques to combine cells, growth factors and biomaterials to fabricate biomedical components, and it can help to develop better organoids, as cells can be deposited in an accurate and controlled way. However, the current software to generate these 3D bioprinted models presents important limitations for this application, making the process too cumbersome and requiring the users to develop workarounds with various applications that require deep technical knowledge in programming, geometry processing, g-code generation, among others. In this project, we propose to develop novel tools to facilitate the workflow to develop organoid and organ-on-a-chip models for end users of bioprinters and to integrate them in our in-house bioprinting software.
Based on the SDKs that are being developed on additive manufacturing and bioprinting, in this project Vicomtech wants to develop a tool to facilitate the work of scientists working with bioprinting. This tool allows to configure the printing in a very simple and fast way and giving the possibility to generate prints with very complex printing trajectories to people without CAD/CAM knowledge. Vicomtech will work on generating a desktop application that will incorporate tools to be able to bioprint models of scaffolds, veins and many other types of biologically relevant models.
The technological challenge is to be able to generate a tool that is able to solve the problems/difficulties experienced by users of bioprinters. Each type of user has very specific needs, in MAKBY we want to develop different tools that are able to solve the problems they have in their experiments, but with a tool that is very easy to use. That is the challenge, the low complexity to use it, the user should not require any kind of CAD/CAM knowledge, or path generation.
Being an internal project, only Vicomtech is working on this project. But throughout the project we are in direct contact with different technology centers, universities and companies that use bioprinters, in order to capture all the needs they have.
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