Building on the ANFF Materials Node mantra – “we make stuff that makes stuff” – we established the Translational Research Initiative for Cellular Engineering and Printing (TRICEP) in 2020. An interesting output from this activity is the 3D REDI, that has been delivered to users across the globe.
Now, a few years on from the development of the 3D REDI, we look where the printers are now and how they are being used.
But first, what exactly is the 3D REDI and what is its purpose?
3D REDI is a bioprinting platform aimed at educating the next generation of biofabricators and serving as a biomaterials research tool. The integrated bioprinting platform and control software offer printing functionality that economically surpasses the capabilities of current market leaders. The intuitive and flexible platform has been developed with the input of world leading clinicians, whilst focused on operation at the forefront of research and training.
So, where are they now?
3D REDI has been delivered and used all around Australia as well as globally, with the printer deployed to ASAN Medical colleagues in South Korea (Islet Cell Transplant Project), the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) in India (3D Printed Ears), Trinity College in Ireland (DeMANS EU Collaborative Project) and Yokohama National University in Japan (Hair Regeneration).
Åbo Akademi University are also using 3D REDI as the go-to printer for pre-testing bioinks, highlighting its convenience and ease of operation. Recently awarded funding from Business Finland, the 3D CelluGel project aims to identify the commercialisation strategy to take their nanocellculose-based ink to market with the help of 3D REDI.
Australian collaborators and research partners utilising the printer include the University of Sydney (Bioengineered Cornea Project), the Royal Adelaide Hospital and University of Adelaide (Islet Cell Transplantation), the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) (Capsules for Localised Drug Delivery Pancreatic Cancer) at the University of Wollongong and the Royal Perth Hospital burns unit (Skin Regeneration).
Additionally, two startups from the collaborators in AMTZ are using 3D REDI for the development of pharmaceutical grade polymer-based bio-ink and transdermal patches in advanced wound dressing.
What are some of these users saying about the REDI?
IPRI and IHMRI PhD student Mitchell St Clair-Glover, who is using the REDI for his project, which centres around the development of a human skin model that is innervated with sensory nerves, explained how the printer has helped.
“The 3D REDI has allowed our research group to use advanced tissue engineering technologies in the development of an innervated skin model. The 3D REDI is a low-cost, user-friendly bioprinter that requires minimal training and is adaptable to the needs of the researcher,” said Mitchell.
“Before starting this project, I was unfamiliar with bioprinting, and the simple design of the equipment enabled me to rapidly begin training and research. The accompanying software to control the 3D REDI is simple to use and allows for the quick construction of basic bioprinted scaffolds.
“The best features of the 3D REDI are the inbuilt LED extrusion module and the temperature-controlled extrusion chambers. These provide more advanced tissue engineering capabilities, allowing for temperature modulation based on bioink requirements for printability, as well as the use of photoinitiators for the polymerisation of scaffolds post-printing.”
Samantha Wade, also from the University of Wollongong and Molecular Horizons, is using the printer for one rather simple application, to fabricate a component of our drug eluting implants for pancreatic cancer therapy.
“It has provided a fabrication platform that is reliable and consistent to make drug eluting implants, which ensures the drug loading per length of polymer is consistent between prints and batches. It is relatively simple to use, which has allowed cancer cell biologists like myself, with limited bioprinting/manufacturing background, to use it,” said Samantha.
“The REDI is also transportable as I can take it in and out of biological safety cabinets, which allows me to fabricate implants in an environment that is suitable for translation into in vivo models. The modular nature is also handy. When one part requires repair, it can easily be dismantled from the printer and taken for repair, rather than transporting the entre printer between facilities.”
TRICEP works with research institutions and industry to develop innovative technologies using 3D bioprinting. TRICEP’s world leading research infrastructure can assist companies to bring to life novel technology from concept stage through to prototyping and manufacture of hardware and the formulation of customised bioinks, to accelerate product development and rapidly decrease time to market. TRICEP is supported by the University of Wollongong and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Materials Node.
This project is supported by ANFF-C Gate 1 Funding.