Jan 9, 2018 | By Julia

In exciting news from the biomedical industry, Swedish bioprinting company Cellink has joined forces with CTI Biotech, a medical tech firm based in Lyon, France, that focuses in cancer treatment via tissue production. The new partnership, which was just announced yesterday, is noteworthy from several perspectives: from a business standpoint, the deal makes a clear statement that Cellink is expanding into the world of cancer research; from a tech perspective, the partnership suggests that 3D printing may have a much larger role to play in the fight against cancer than previously realized.

According to the freshly minted deal, Cellink will essentially assist CTI in the production of patient-specific cancer tumor replicas, which will be 3D printed by combining CTI’s bioink with a sample of patients’ cancer cells. The aim is that researchers will then have an advantage in treating specific cancer types, and in the long term, take a serious step forward in the fight towards curing cancer once and for all.

Cellink’s founder and CEO Erik Gatenholm breaks down the process as follows: "You will be able to see how a tumor grows and how it would respond to different treatments. It's a very relevant and a realistic model for research," Gatenholm says. CTI Biotech founder Colin McGuckin agrees that the new Cellink partnership will vastly “accelerate research,” which could mean a substantial breakthrough for the oncology industry.

Erik Gatenholm

If you’ve never heard of Cellink before, it’s worth taking a closer look at what exactly sets this company apart from your average bioprinting organization. Founded in early 2016, Cellink is one of the first firms in the world to offer 3D printable bioink, a liquid substance that facilitates the survival and growth of human cells. Of course, we’re still a ways off from ready to wear bioink, so to speak, but for a company that’s only been around for less than two years, Cellink’s progress is unparalleled. The company currently bioprints noses and ears primarily for testing cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, but it’s also a leader in researching and experimenting with cells from human organs such as livers.

What does it all boil down to? Whereas more conventional and generalized cancer treatments such as chemotherapy lead to serious side effects in patients, Cellink and CTI’s solution promises to deliver personalized treatments for cancer on a custom, patient-by-patient basis. Another silver lining is more ethical treatments, since Cellink’s technique can bypass the need for animal testing entirely.

While attempting to tackle the vexed issue of cancer treatments is ambitious to say the least, Gatenholm notes that his sights were always set high for Cellink. The CEO says that he founded Cellink specifically “to change the world of medicine” and become a global leader in bioprinting. So far so good: since Cellink entered the industry, the bioprinting market has all but exploded, and is expected to triple between 2016 and 2021.

Meanwhile, Gatenholm’s company continues to expand, most recently with a new American headquarters near MIT in Cambridge. The bioprinting fim now sells bioink and 3D printers to universities, research institutions and medical companies in 40 countries around the world, meaning a very profitable first year for the Swedish company.

Long term, Cellink’s goal is to print real, live human organs. Gatenholm notes that we’re still 15-20 years away from making that a reality, but at the rate his company is progressing, he’s very optimistic. “Our vision is to be able to print new human organs. We want to write the history of 3D bioprinting.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Joe London wrote at 1/11/2018 9:25:53 AM:

Yeah, saw this article and thought ‘who is this Danny’. Also, I can see that he has an MBA, must stand for Mediocre But Arrogant.

Paul Roobin wrote at 1/10/2018 8:30:11 PM:

Anyone else think that this Erik Gatenholm is just attention seeking? Why the heck would you make a press release and have his ugly mug grinning smugly. I suppose that it is all surface and no feeling.

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