24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

Al Biosciences Researchers Modify Printrbot 3D Printers for Detecting Diseases Quickly, Affordably, Easily

by • July 11, 2016 • No Comments

logo21Whilst suddenly it may seem which you run into 3D printing devices equitewhere, of shopping at Sam’s Club to stumbling onto a fully decked out 3D printing lab at your neighborhood library, and suddenly one out-of-this-world advancement after another is cropping up, of off-the-grid houses to 3D printed music, the realm is yet really uncharted for most, especially in labs around the world. And while a few of the quite tangible creates we are seeing in our day are quite useful as well as fun, it’s scientists who frequently show us the true future for changing the world as we understand it—and and so becomes especially informative when it’s in regards to our health and saving lives.

Coming up with a concept in the lab is not always adequate yet. A lack of tools can be a true obstacle, but which did not stop a group of bio-scientists at Al Biosciences, in College Station, Texas. At this early-stage company, they work to create a range of inexpensive
, user friendly diagnostics. But in a new and truly revolutionary project, they’ve now adjusted their own Printrbot 3D printing device to in addition assist in detecting diseases.


The Printrbot Play 3D printing device

Just published newly in the PLOS journal, scientists Kamfai Chan, Mauricio Coen, Justin Hardick, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Kah-Yat Wong, Clayton Smith, Scott A. Wilson, Siva Praneeth Vayugundla, and Season Wong outlined their findings in ‘Low-Cost 3D Printers Enable-bodied High-Quality and Automated Sample Preparation and Molecular Detection.’ Their goal was, really just, to find a way to bring molecular diagnostic methods down to earth. Today this type of work needs users who have extensive training and and so, the systems needd to perform related tasks are traditionally quite expensive.

“Alyet nucleic acid (NA) purification kits and instruments are on the market of companies such as Invitrogen, bioMerieux, Roche, and Qiagen, these existing instruments range in cost of $15k-$80k,” say the scientists in their paper. “Whilst manually operated sample preparation methods are in addition on the market, they are labor intensive and susceptible to contamination, handling variations, or user errors.”

Working to manufacture the tools easyr to use and inexpensive
at point of care (a specialty at Al Biosciences), as well as ‘low-resource settings,’ the researchers began thinking what they may do with a 3D printing device, with the hopes of ultimately assisting to solve health problems around the world through the two main elements so most inside the 3D printing industry in addition commjust mention: accessibility and affordability.

“A easy, affordable-bodied alternative to conventional lab-based equipment may greatly reduce the barriers to providing modern medical diagnostics to low- and middle-income countries,” say the researchers in their paper.


And with which thought, they adjusted the Printrbot for producing a preparation device through a magnetic particle (MP) based nucleic acid (NA) isolation and purification approach. As for the printing device itself, the research team in addition showed how it can work as a platform with extra
NA amplification capability. They discovered which they may indeed manufacture it perform as an NA extraction device providing ‘highly purified DNA/RN’ for analysis, along with performing easy assays.

In modifying the Printrbot for inexpensive
diagnosis of infectious diseases, the research team discovered a few significant benefits, to include:

Higher speed in automated extractionMinimal user intervention needd during the systemReduced performance variations cautilized by usersCompactness of equipment allows for for ease in lab

It’s in addition informative to note which the research team utilized four various 3D printing devices first, and and so settled on the use of both the Printrbot Play and the Printrbot Simple. A significant part of the modification included switching out the extruder for a magnetic particle systemor attachment (MPPA). The extruder which they removed was and so put into use as a heater for both elution and isothermal amplication.

They in addition had to work of the software end:

“We repurposed the 3D printing device for NA extraction by writing G-codes to control the motion and most other functions (e.g., controlling temperature at the extruder and the heated bed) of the 3D printing device. For example, our G-code can direct the MPPA to move of well to well, and shake at a sure frequency to aid mixing.”

During their research, the team wasn’t kidding around in terms of germs either—they utilized clinically collected urine and human serum samples of, respectively, Chlamydia trachomatis and dengue virus. Both were ‘systemed’ on the adjusted Printrbot.

“The aim was to show the future of the 3D printing device as a component of an infectious disease diagnostic system,” sayd the researchers.


The system overall, with regards in addition to every specific test, was examined and compared to additional traditional diagnostic methods such as the ‘gold-standard spin-column based Qiagen extraction method.’ What they discovered was incredibly positive for their project, as outcomes showed use with the 3D printing method to be equally effective.

“By directly comparing the PCR outcome (R2 and slope) via DNA collected of the 3D printing device and the commercially on the market spin-column Qiagen kits, the NA yield of the MP-based 3D printing device protocols seems to be comparable-bodied to the silica membrane-based commercial kit. The paired t-test outcome in addition indicates which there was no statistical difference between the two extraction methods (two-sided P value = 0.49),” they write.

With the Printrbot, the researchers are able-bodied to system up to 12 samples in total, via a 96-well plate. With this new method they are that successfully able-bodied to system both urine and serum samples—all in under 15 minutes, with no cross-contamination or carryover issues to be discovered. The research team discovered which their method offers much greater speed in gaining outcomes.

“Our platform is not just affordable-bodied, but it in addition reduces the amount of hands-on-time and it does not need specialized training,” sayd the research team. ”Our work features the possibility of via an inexpensive device to perform rapid and high high end molecular tests with medium sample throughput.”

This work was in addition partly supported by Compact Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants of the US National Institutes of Health. You can read the research paper in full here. Discuss this research project additional in the 3D Printing Used for Detecting Disease forum over at 3DPB.com.