Today in Bioprinting: A Dog Tests Out 3D Printed Bone Treatment for Landmine Survivors and a Bioprinter Operates on a Six-Axis Robot
In December, the University of Glasgow received £2.8 million from Find a Better Way, a charity set up to help survivors of landmine blasts. The funding was granted to the university to develop a method of 3D printing bone that involves coating plastic scaffolds with stem cells and a growth factor called BMP-2, and placing them into a device called a Nanokick bioreactor, invented by a professor at the school. The bioreactor shakes the scaffold at a rate that stimulates bone tissue to grow faster.
Although human trials of the 3D printed bone won’t be for several years, the university did get a chance to test it out recently – on a dog named Eva. The two-year-old Munsterlander was hit by a car, badly injuring her right foreleg and leaving a 2cm gap in the bone. It looked like her leg would have to be amputated – except that at Glasgow University’s veterinary hospital, where Eva was taken, veterinarian William Marshall was familiar with the technique that Professors Matt Dalby and Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez were developing. He reached out to the team, which agreed to try a modified version of the technique on Eva’s leg.A mixture of bone chips with BMP-2 and poly(ethyl acrylate), or PEA, was placed into the gap in Eva’s leg. Seven weeks later, the bone has regrown.
“This is an exciting development,” said Professor Salmeron-Sanchez. “During research and development, the use of PEA and BMP-2 to grow new bone tissue has looked very promising, but I was not expecting the treatment to be used to help a patient for several more years. We are delighted to have had the chance to help save Eva’s leg from amputation. If I’m honest, we were not at all sure the treatment would work in such a complex infected fracture. It’s been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
The success of the operation bodes well for the humans who will eventually benefit from the treatment.
“We are absolutely thrilled with Eva’s recovery,” said Eva’s owner, Fiona Kirkland. “When we heard about an experimental treatment that might help her, we had no idea it was connected to such an important project. It is amazing to think that the treatment used to heal Eva’s leg will help researchers one day repair the bones of landmine blast survivors.”
Although it will be a while, still, before the technique is tested on humans, the fact that it was able to repair such a complex injury means that there’s hope for survivors who have encountered landmines, millions of which remain in place around the world.
In other hopeful bioprinting news, Kentucky software company Advanced Solutions has developed a new kind of bioprinter. The patent-pending BioAssemblyBot operates on a six-axis robotic arm, and the company believes that it eventually could lead to 3D printed organs.
The BioAssemblyBot is connected to Advanced Solutions’ Tissue Structure Information Modeling (TSIM) software, which enables the user to create and print detailed 3D models, and is capable of 3D printing cell systems and 3D assays, experimental tissue models and microenvironments, organ models, microfluidic platforms, implant systems and more. It features as many as eight interchangeable tools that deposit bioink, pick and place, heat and cool, etc. The machine has a 250 x 300 x 250 mm 3D printing build envelope.
The system allows users to “Fail Fast,” as the company calls it, or to identify and work through issues quickly. They’re still some distance from being able to 3D print a working, transplantable human organ, and Advanced Solutions President and CEO Michael Golway states that the company could benefit from failing faster in order to make faster progress. The biggest challenge is in the development of bioinks – but progress is being made.
“We can print liver cells in a structure the size of a U.S. quarter and combine it with our vascularization technology in a 3D structure to get results that begin to mimic a functioning liver,” Golway told CNBC. “We’re using raw material from the patient to actually create 3D structures outside the body. We happen to think the vascularization piece, i.e. the ability to get blood flow to the tissues, will be a really critical part and a foundational step to the long term advancements that we’ll see in 3D printed organs.”
“We believe in the next five years, you’ll start to see movement from the research side to the clinical side, where we’re starting to develop functional solutions for the patient,” said Golway. “I can only expect that there will be a lot of debate and discussion around the ethics, and I have great confidence that once we go to the clinical side, it will be a safe application for patients.”
This video from Advanced Solutions shows the BioAssemblyBot in action:
Discuss in the Bioprinting forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: STV News / CNBC]
You May Also Like
Benny Buller on VELO3D’s SPACtacular Rise in Metal 3D Printing
2021 has already been a SPACtacular year for the 3D printing industry, with several companies already announcing mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). This includes Markforged, Rocket Lab, and...
Materialise Has Option to Acquire 3D Printing MES Company Link3D
Belgian 3D printing service and software company Materialise (Nasdaq: MTLS) has announced that it has an option to acquire Link3D. The transaction will close later this year, but the company...
3D Printing Bureaus on the Rise: Sandvik’s BEAMIT Acquires 3T Additive Manufacturing
The BEAMIT Group has acquired polymer and metal additive manufacturing (AM) provider 3T Additive Manufacturing from the German holding group AM Global. The deal represents the first step towards BEAMIT’s...
3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup: April 10, 2021
We’ve got another packed week of webinars and virtual events for you, starting with Hannover Messe 2021 on Monday. What else is coming up this week: ASTM CoE’s personnel certificate...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.