Project 3D PRINT OS: Collaboration with University of Zurich on 3D-Organ-Printing

Worldwide thousands of people are waiting for a donated organ. The amount of voluntary organ donations is too low. Bio printing of organs is the solution, but gravity forces on earth are too strong.

In microgravity, cells differentiate better, exhibit spatially unrestricted growth and assemble into complex 3D aggregates called Spheroids, see bottom picture on the left. Spheroids can therefore be used as building blocks in tissue engineering and are suitable for automatized large-scale production through bioprinting.

Establishing such a technology with kiwi’s unique capabilities in low earth orbit operations and the expertise and co-investment of the University of Zurich (UZH), led by Prof. Dr. Dr. Oliver Ulrich, guarantee return of investment and continuous growth.

In the successful Airbus BlueBox competition, the kiwi team was rewarded with Airbus budget to increase the technology readiness level of this new technology. It shall be shown that microgravity can be used as a tool for differentiation of adult stem cells into functional tissues.

This innovation project of kiwi enters now the seed phase, when the team designs an experiment in a 2U kiwi ScienceBox and use commercial access to ISS to test the cells under microgravity condition. In microgravity, the cells are expected to develop and differentiate into organ-like structures (e.g. heart and the hematopoetic system). Currently, kiwi and UZH are working on the first design of the experiment hardware.