AM for SpaceBioprinting

CELLINK joins forces with Made In Space for microgravity bioprinting

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Bioprinting company CELLINK and Made In Space are teaming up to jointly develop bioprinting technology for space. The cooperation will combine CELLINK’s bioprinting technologies and Made In Space’s knowledge of 3D printing in zero-gravity environments. Together, the companies hope to advance the emerging (and exciting) field of bioprinting in space.

Unlike Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), which is installed aboard the International Space Station and is used primarily by astronauts to print components and devices for onboard use, bioprinting in space will mostly be used to explore and develop projects for use on Earth. That is, scientists are realizing that the microgravity environment of space can help to advance bioprinting research for applications here on Earth, such as drug screening and cancer research.

Made In Space CELLINK bioprinting
Made In Space’s AMF was the first commercial 3D printer deployed in space

By working together, CELLINK and Made In Space will use their respective competencies to identify technology development opportunities for bioprinting, both on Earth and in space. In addition to providing insights into bioprinting processes, 3D bioprinting in space could ultimately also be used by crew members to produce things like skin and bone patches on-demand to treat wounds.

“CELLINK supports space programs in the United States with our deep commitment to cutting-edge innovation, extensive portfolio of technologies and world-class team of scientists and engineers,” commented Erik Gatenholm, Co-Founder and CEO of CELLINK. “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.”

Made In Space CELLINK bioprinting
The International Space Station (Photo: NASA)

For those following the bioprinting segment closely, you’ll have noticed a growing trend for in-space printing. In fact, this is not even the first time CELLINK has collaborated on a space related project. Earlier this year, for instance, the Swedish company worked with the Swedish National Space Agency and Uppsala University to launch bioprinted stem cells on a suborbital flight.

The European Space Agency has also expressed an interest in the niche but growing field. In July, an ESA-led project marked a milestone for bioprinting in space with the successful production of skin and bone samples.

Most recently, 3D Bioprinting Solutions—which launched a bioprinter into space last year—announced it had successfully 3D printed protein crystals aboard the ISS using its Organ.Aut magnetic bioprinter. 3dpbm founder Davide Sher recently took a tour of 3D Bioprinting Solutions’ facility, which you can read more about here.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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