Medical & Dental

CELLINK preserves integrity of 3D bioprinted cells with new CELLCYTE X microscopy platform

Swedish 3D bioprinter and materials developer CELLINK has entered the microscopy sector. Addressing one of the most vital peripheral activities to studying cell cultures, the company has launched the CELLCYTE X – a new platform that allows researchers to monitor the growth and proliferation of 3D bioprinted cells in their proper environment.

The new compact CELLCYTE X hardware is designed to be user friendly, and more cost effective for small laboratories than traditional industrial equipment.

CELLINK 3D bioprinting

CELLINK is the developer and provider of 3D bioprinters, the BIO X and its predecessor the INKREDIBLE. In addition, the company markets a broad range of 3D printable bioinks, suitable for use on its own systems and third party bioprinters.

Many of these inks do, or can be prepared to, contain living cells which are 3D printed as complex scaffolds. Both before and after 3D bioprinting the media, sample scaffolds must be kept at a temperature and humidity that keeps their live cells alive.

A sample 3D bioprinted ear model. Photo via CELLINK
Example of a complex 3D bioprinted cell scaffold in the shape of an ear. Photo via CELLINK

“When we grow our cells before today’s bioprinting experiments, we place them in an incubator,” explains Erik Gatenholm, CEO of CELLINK, “[…] That environment is vital to the functionality of the cells.”

Further, “To determine if the cells are doing well, one must constantly look at them under the microscope.” Typically, this would mean that the cells are removed from the incubator and placed under a microscope. The CELLCYTE X platform have been developed to ensure that cells are never removed from incubation during experimentation, and the ideal microenvironment for the cultures is never compromised.

Scanning cells at 3 fps

The CELLCYTE X can hold up to six sample plates containing up to 96 individual sample wells. Placed inside the system, a single plate can be scanned in under 5 minutes, with cell morphology tracked at three frames per second (fps).

The system includes a 5 megapixel camera (the average for microscope cameras) and allows up to 20 times magnification. Parts of the technology inside the CELLCYTE X are now patent pending, and in the future CELLINK plans to upgrade the platform’s capabilities to enable remote cell imaging.

According to the company, “Launching the CELLCYTE X platform is another step toward CELLINK’s goal of enhancing biomedical research and changing the future of medicine.”

Microscopic cultures of "Actin and NucBlue stained co-cultures of HepG2 and LX-2." Image via CELLINK
Microscopic cultures of “Actin and NucBlue stained co-cultures of HepG2 and LX-2.” Image via CELLINK

Millions fuel CELLINK’s development 

In recent months, CELLINK has been the subject of a number of highly lucrative deals within the 3D bioprinting sphere. In December 2018 the company entered into a $1.2 million partnership with San Francisco biotechnology company Prellis Biologics. Together, Prellis and CELLINK are working to commercialize the Holograph-X Bioprinter.

More recently, in January 2019, CELLINK and the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) became the joint recipients of  more than $1 million USD in funding from the European Union to develop bioinks.

Has CELLINK developed your Medical 3D Printing Application of the Year? Nominate this company and more for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards now.

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Featured image shows the artwork for the new CELLCYTE X platform. Image via CELLINK