Medical & Dental

Bioprinting advances from Aether and Nano Dimension

The 3D bioprinting market is gaining momentum with several recently developments. Israeli PCB 3D printer and ink company Nano Dimension (NASDAQ: NNDM) has made a further advance with a new patent for 3D inkjet printing with living cells. And San Francisco 3D bioprinting startup Aether has announced several new research partnerships.

"Make History" Screenshot from the Aether1 bioprinter homepage.
“Make History” Screenshot from the Aether1 bioprinter homepage.

3D printed kidney patent

At the beginning of April 2017 Nano Dimension announced its wholly owned subsidiary, Nano Dimension Technologies Ltd., had filed a U.S. patent application for 3D inkjet printing of living cells and supporting structures.

The patent relates to the fabrication of “nephron-like functioning structures” and the company believes this could be key to creating artificial kidney tissues.

Nephrons are the nanoscopic vessels that make up the structure of kidneys. Illustration via Encyclopaedia Britannica
Nephrons are the nanoscopic vessels that make up the structure of kidneys. Illustration via Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Nano Dimension patent adds to other recent developments in the 3D bioprinting segment. These includes the 3D bioprinting of a kidney proximal tubule (identifiable in the diagram above as the winding parts of the nephron) by the Lewis Lab at Harvard University, and developments at San Diego based bioprinting pioneers Organovo.

Starting at this molecular stage, it becomes clear that there are many layers to the construction of an entire organ. As Harvard’s Professor Jennifer Lewis told us in an interview, one of the key challenges to progress is fabricating a material that won’t be rejected by the body.

Aether enter into research partnerships

Also working in the bioprinting sector are Aether, the company is currently developing the Aether 1 bioprinter.

The Aether 1 allows the user to incorporate up to 24 different materials in a single print. This is achieved by using a configuration of 8 different syringes, 2 hot-ends, and 10 extruders.

The Aether 1 Bioprinter aims be the 3D printer that gives tissue engineers a choice. The materials that can be used in Aether’s various attachments include hydrogels, used as support material for living cells, and electronic inks that are useful in replicating an organ on a chip.

A prototype of the Aether 1 Bioprinter. Photo via
A prototype of the Aether 1 Bioprinter. Photo via

To enhance development of the Aether 1 Bioprinter, the company has entered into research collaboration agreements with the Queensland University of Technology in Australia and the Spanish National Research Council (“CSIC”).

Aether “blown away” by the level of interest in the bioprinter

The agreements add to an existing roster of over 10 international institutions participating in research with the company, including Northwestern University, Illinois, that successfully 3D printed stents for use in heart operations, and Cambridge University in the UK.

Aether CEO Ryan Franks said,

We’ve been totally blown away by the level of interest we’ve received. With QUT and CSIC I was literally reading articles about the outstanding work they were doing, and soon after received requests from them to be Aether beta users. It seems like almost everyone on the forefront of bioprinting innovation wants to expand the possibilities of their research by taking advantage of Aether 1’s unique capabilities.

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Readers can now vote for the best 3D printing research projects in the first annual 3D Printing Industry Awards.

Featured image shows the heated glass syringe extruder in a Aether 1 Bioprinter. Photo via