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Advancing bioprinting technology in space

Published on December 20, 2019 by Carlota V.

Recently, CELLINK announced an exciting partnership with Made In Space to develop advanced bioprinting technology for space. The space company develops state-of-the-art space manufacturing technology to support exploration, national security, and sustainable space settlement. The two companies will work together to combine MIS’ expertise in additive manufacturing in microgravity with CELLINK’s innovative bioprinting technologies. The aim is to leverage the microgravity environment for new applications such as drug screening and cancer research.

The microgravity environment has been of interest for the past few years. It enables old materials to be studied and unlocked to make new ones, therefore potentially opening up new applications on Earth. Some believe that industrialization can reach a new level in space by essentially taking advantage of low Earth orbit for innovation. Made In Space identified this opportunity 5 years ago, and it has since been its mission to support future space exploration through on-orbit manufacturing, assembly and materials development.

The first ISS 3D printer | Credits: Made In Space

Bioprinting in space?

CELLINK co-founder and CEO Erik Gatenholm stated: “We are excited to partner with Made In Space to refine bioprinting technologies that can support and enhance future missions in spaceflight and space exploration.” CELLINK and MIS aim to identify new pathways such as the International Space Station and future platforms.

As for CELLINK, the company specialises in designing and developing bioprinting technologies to enable 3D printing organs and tissues for applications in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. They also offer a patent-pending bioink that allows human cells to grow and thrive as they would in their natural environment. When we spoke to the CEO and Co-Founder of CELLINK, he had told us: “I knew this [3D printing technologies] was a market I always wanted to get into. When I met my co-founder Hector Martinez, we realized a gap in the market when it came to purchasing bioinks. Together with our founding team, we commercialized the first universal bioink and then expanded to manufacturing 3D bioprinters and other technology used for bioprinting.”

CELLINK is collaboration with Made In Space to refine bioprinting technologies | Credits: CELLINK

The company explains that bioprinting also has the potential to mitigate crew health and safety risks on long-duration spaceflight missions where access to standard medical facilities isn’t readily available. Bioprinting capabilities optimized to operate in the space environment could enable future crews to develop skin and bone patches to aid in wound healing in space.

You can find more information HERE.

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