Aspect Biosystems Partners with MERLN to 3D Print Kidney Tissues

Aspect Biosystems, a 3D bioprinting firm, has recently partnered with Maastricht University in the Netherlands to create kidney tissue for scientific testing. Specifically, the Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN) at the school will be working with Aspect’s RX1 bioprinter in Professor Lorenzo Moroni’s Lab to create these medical test-viable tissues.

“Patients on life-saving, but onerous, dialysis treatments are often found waiting for donor organs that are severely limited in supply,” said Tamer Mohamed, President and CEO of Aspect Biosystems. “Tissue engineers recognize the potential of their work to alleviate this problem, but kidney tissue is complex and extremely challenging to create.”

Aspect Biosystems was founded in 2013, and is a privately held company. Their goal is to generate human tissues via 3D printing, and this new collaborative effort with MERLN is a powerful step in achieving this task.

“At Aspect, we are committed to collaborating with leading research groups in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to realize the broad applicability of our technology,” explained Mohamed.

rx1Powered by microfluidics, the Aspect RX1 Bioprinter uses the Lab-on-a-Printer system to create these intricate tissues. This platform involves printheads with microscopic channels that direct multiple ink fluids simultaneously. This enables the RX1 printer to layer multiple cell types into the printed structures, yielding life-like tissue structures.

The Moroni Lab was originally founded at the University of Twente in 2009 and aims to use bioprinting to manipulate cell activity. The lab has now formed several collaborations at both the international and local scale.

READ MORE: Bulgarian Surgeon Saves Patient’s Life with 3D Printed Rib Implant

MERLN uses research efforts in concert with training of many scientists in different disciplines within the biomedical engineering field to conduct their work. The Institute specializes in fabrication of medical devices for cell-based tissue regeneration. MERLN has been researching kidney bioprinting for 3 years now, and has created new bioinks that bolster regeneration and maintenance of kidney cells in bioprinting.

With this new partnership, Aspect will have the ability to continue developing and researching products via joint studies with the highly-skilled University staff. MERLN utilizes extrusion, microfluidics, and ‘droplet-on-demand’ technologies for long bone defects as well. The kidney tissue project will be led by Dr. Carlos Mota, head of bioprinting research and assistant professor at MERLN.

READ MORE: Penn State Researchers 3D Print Novel Porous Tissues

“This is an exciting opportunity,” said Professor Moroni and Dr. Mota. “We already took our first steps in kidney tissue models and we are particularly excited to apply our expertise with Aspect’s platform technology and join forces with their innovative team, which we expect will accelerate our findings and impact in this space.”

Sources: 3D Printing Industry, 3D Print

Jack holds a biology degree from Penn State University, and has a keen interest in how new medical technologies are changing the future of healthcare. Reach out to Jack if you have a compelling story idea or with feedback about past articles.