3D Printed PLA and PCL Composite Biodegradable Stents Show Promise

RAPID

Share this Article

PCL (white) and PLA (black) stents

Biodegradable stents have shown great potential in reducing complications in patients, but they require further study, according to the authors of a paper entitled “3D-Printed PCL/PLA Composite Stents: Towards a New Solution to Cardiovascular Problems.” The researchers outline five main requirements that a biodegradable stent must meet:

  • Their manufacturing process should be precise
  • Degradation should have minimal toxicity
  • The rate of degradation should match the recovery rate of vascular tissue
  • They should induce rapid endothelialization to restore the functions of vascular tissue but should at the same time reduce the risk of restenosis
  • Their mechanical behavior should comply with medical requirements, particularly the flexibility required to facilitate placement but also sufficient radial rigidity to support the vessel

Although the first three requirements have been thoroughly studied, according to the researchers, the last two have been overlooked. A possible way of addressing these issues would be to create composite stents using materials that have different mechanical, biological or medical properties, such as PLA or PCL. Fabricating stents with these materials using laser cutting, however – the traditional method of manufacturing stents – would not be possible. The researchers, therefore, decided to produce them using 3D printing.

They 3D printed the stents using a tubular 3D printer. The stents were then seeded with cells and left for three days, and then tests were performed to assess the morphological features, cell proliferation, cell adhesion, degradation rate and radial behavior.

“The results prove the materials’ biological compatibility and encourage us to believe that PCL/PLA composite stents would comply with the fourth requirement, i.e., rapid endothelization without risk of restenosis,” the researchers state. “PCL’s better cell proliferation may be useful to increase the proliferation of endothelial vessel cells in the external wall of the stents, while an internal PLA wall may help to reduce the proliferation of cells that produce restenosis. However, further studies with other kinds of cells or substances need to be performed to confirm this. The results here show low cell proliferation because of the small amount of material that the stents have. Additional studies that use longer culture times may be beneficial to obtain better proliferation results.”

The researchers’ initial hypothesis was confirmed: the smaller the cell area of the stent, the better the cell proliferation rate. The cell shape of the stent, however, did not show any significant influence. Because of their different molecular weights, PCL showed better cell proliferation than PLA. PLA showed a much faster degradation rate, which limits its use for biodegradable stents. Radial behavior results show that composite PLA/PCL stents could be used to improve each material’s separate limitations, with PCL offering elasticity in the expansion stem and PLA providing rigidity in the recoil step.

Overall, 3D printing proved itself to be a promising method for producing stents. Both PCL and PLA showed themselves to be biocompatible, and the composite stents showed the most promise, with medium levels of degradation rates and mechanical modulus.

“Based on the results presented here, we believe that polymer composite stents manufactured with 3D-printing processes could be a highly effective solution to the current problems that stents made of polymers have,” the researchers conclude. However, FDA rules currently limit the use of 3D-printed stents in real clinical applications and, although PCL and PLA are FDA-approved materials, there are still open challenges to be met before approval for 3D-printed implantable medical devices can be obtained.”

Authors of the paper include Antonio J. Guerra, Paula Cano, Marc Rabionet, Teresa Puig and Joaquim Ciurana.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: June 16, 2024

3D Printing News Briefs, June 15, 2024: 3D Printed Research & Lamps & Guns & More



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

BellaSeno’s Pioneering 3D Printing Facility for Medical Implants to Open in 2025

German 3D printing medical implant pioneer BellaSeno plans to launch a fully automated production facility in Australia by mid-2025 to make its resorbable soft tissue and bone reconstruction implants. By...

Daring AM: From 3D Printed Gun Files to Criminal Backstreets

3D printed guns are a growing trend that won’t go away, making their way into headlines with increasing frequency. While the number of 3D printed firearms isn’t nearly as high...

Handheld, Chip-Based 3D Printer Demonstrated in DARPA-Funded Project

In a study funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of...

BigRep Launches High-Temperature 3D Printers via HAGE3D Acquisition

In the fall of 2023, large-format 3D printing leader BigRep announced its acquisition of Austria-based HAGE3D, which also makes large-platform, fused filament fabrication (FFF) systems. This enabled BigRep to offer...