Medical & Dental

Allevi launches bioink kit for 3D printing multi-layered skin cells

Philadelphia-headquartered 3D bioprinting company Allevi has launched the Skin Bioink Kit. A material package, this kit is to be used in conjunction with its 3D bioprinters to produce patches of skin. It aims to allow tissue engineers to design multi-layered skin patches that are more akin to natural human skin.

According to Allevi’s website, “Skin is your body’s largest organ. Over the years, the field of tissue engineering has made incredible contributions to medicine by designing skin […] Although there has been great strides forward, the patches are far from what our natural skin is like.”

Capturing the complexity of multi-layered skin cells through 3D bioprinting

2D patches of skin are developed by tissue engineers to be applied to a variety of medical contexts, like burns, diabetic ulcers, and cancer resections. However, the patches of skin currently used in medicine do not accurately capture the full structure of skin as it is made of several layered cells.

When the cells on the outside (the epidermis) die, they fall off the human body, to be replaced with the newer cells underneath (the dermis). The company further state that: “This symphonic process allows for rejuvenation, protection, and repair. Apart from this our skin also has sweat glands, pigment, and immune cells.”

“This process and others can absolutely not be captured in a 2D environment.”

Using 3D bioprinting, a number of companies and researchers are challenging this traditional 2D model.

Feeling comfortable in your own 3D printed skin

Allevi, originally founded in 2014 as BioBots, operates with a mission statement to “make it easy to design and engineer 3D tissues.” With its new Skin Bioink Kit, it continues to carry out this objective.

Allevi’s Skin Bioink Kit allows users to bioprint both dermis and epidermis layers of skin, in a ‘simplistic standardized fashion’, using low concentrations of pure collagen. These layers include the structural cells keratinocyte (top layer of the skin), fibroblast (connective tissue), and melanocyte (melanin production), which are needed to produce functioning skin.

The Allevi Skin Bioink Kit. Photo via Allevi.
The Allevi Skin Bioink Kit. Photo via Allevi.

The kit comes with everything needed to produce skin patches using on one of the company’s 3D bioprinters. It includes:

– An Allevi printing dish
– 10 ml of Advanced BioMatrix pure collagen
– 500 µL of neutralization solution
– A 5 mL sterile syringe
– Layering tips, and,
– A syringe coupler

The contents are compatible with all of the company’s 3D bioprinters including the recently released triple-extrusion Allevi 3D bioprinter, the Allevi 6, the Allevi 2 and the Allevi 1, which was released February 2018.

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Featured image shows 3D bioprinted skin using Allevi’s Skin Bioink Kit.