Delivering its latest beta 3D bioprinter to the University of South Australia (UniSA), San Francisco technology start-up Aether has announced collaboration on an in vitro study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to Dr. Anton Blencowe, lead researcher on the UniSA study, the Aether 1 3D printer will “add new, unparalleled capabilities,” to its current facilities, enhancing the lab’s ability to create complex cell structures.
A new contraceptive paradigm
Specifically, the Blencowe Research Group at UniSA will use the Aether 1 3D bioprinter to create screening platforms for the discovery of new contraceptives.
By using native stem cells, the goal of the research is to make biomimetic models of Fallopian tubes, then use them to test novel and natural contraception remedies.
A new contraceptive paradigm in medicine, the trial treatments are designed to deactivate the maturation of sperm within the oviduct.
Global impact on health and medicine
New contraceptive solutions are desperately needed around the world as current alternatives are often ineffective, cause undesirable side effects, or even run the risk of infertility.
For these reasons, the project is granted under the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenge fund, the goal of which is “Solving global health and development problems for those most in need.”
Aether CEO Ryan Franks shared his enthusiasm for the project commenting, “The Gates Foundation encompasses the work of the world’s two leading philanthropists, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Everyone at Aether is unbelievably excited to join the Gates Foundation in making a large-scale positive impact in health and medicine.”
Collaboration with UniSA is the latest in a line of academic initiatives joined by Aether for the development of their proprietary 3D printer.
The announcement also coincides with the Aether 1’s most recent upgrade, and the first day of new Aether Science Director Karen Dubbin, who offered her views on the future of 3D bioprinting as part of our guest article series.
Featured image: Latest update of the Aether 1 beta 3D bioprinter. Photo via Aether