Sep 28, 2015 | By Kira

LIFIA, a research centre of the National University of La Plata in Argentina, has created a 3D printer head that can control two syringes simultaneously, allowing doctors to print biopolymers with specific geometric forms and combine them in novel ways. Developed in conjunction with Dr. Guillermo R. Castro of CONICET and the Center for Research and Development in Industrial Fermentation (CINDEFI), the project is the first of its kind, and has won a contest organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Argentina (MinCyT), from which it received financial assistance to be developed.

According to Sergio Katz, coordinator of IT infrastructure and support at LIFIA and one of the lead researchers in this study, the idea was to design a system that could accurately control the deposition of biopolymers. These 3D bioprinted patches can then be adapted to specific organs and used in local therapies for patients, thereby tailoring medical drug administration in terms of dosage amounts, the type of drug, and targeted location.

“[The polymers] are combined to create novel hydrocolloidal matrices based on the type of drug to be administered to the patient, and the proper therapies suggested by the physicians,” Katz told He added that his 3D print head prototype is a “multipurpose medical technology” with applications in bioprinting, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

He based his design off of a RepRap 3D printer and modified the head so that it could control dual syringes. “Each extruder has a motor, a fixed support and a movable support,” he told us. “When the motor rotates, the carriage moves up or down and controls the plunger of the syringe. At the end of each syringe is a silicone tube that carries liquid to the head, which is on the X axis.” Katz told that the benefit of working with 3D bioprinting for studying and combining polymers is that it is faster, reproducible, tailorable and personalized.

In their case study, the researchers experimented with liquid alginate and calcium. Upon making contact on the surface, the calcium and alginate solidify into a gel, which can be deposited layer by layer. The system can also print biopolymers that can be gelled with inotropic solutions—heart medications can either make the heart beat more or less strongly.

As an accessible tool for bioprinting, his dual syringe 3D printer head contributes to “innovation in the field of unconventional materials as natural and synthetic polymers, and their possible combinations with biological materials, cell materials and hybrid systems.”

Since winning funding via MinCyt, Katz and his team plan to continue research and improve features that deal with temperature, sterilization and precision before moving from prototype to commercial equipment. The project has already received interest and support from the Argentinean Government.

Katz joined LIFIA during its inaugural year as a research assistant, where he earned a scholarship to train in the Scientific Research Centre (CIC). After working as a teaching assistant in programming and computer architecture, specializing in hardware, he rejoined LIFIA in 2007 as coordinator of IT infrastructure and support, and in 2013 participated in the first National Conference of 3D printing in Argentina. Founded in 1988, LIFIA has recently ventured into the development of 3D printing technology is in order to advance their expertise and innovation in the field of advanced computing and technology. If you have questions or would like more information, you please contact sergiokatz[at]gmail[.]com”



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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Phil wrote at 9/30/2015 3:12:59 PM:

Look terrible and prints terrible. I bet that there is a lot more to Bioprinting than this inaccurate system.

Marcelo RC wrote at 9/28/2015 11:54:48 PM:

Congratulations, excellent work!

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