If you are a regular reader of the website, you guys might remember that I went to this Biomaterials, 3D-Printing, and Tissue Engineering type of conference last year held in Boston at the Wyndam around Oct, called the Organ-On-A-Chip Conference, which was the exact same place, and time for the Annual Termis Conference. Too bad I was not able to attend the Termis conference or I might have met Dr. Atala and Dr. Warren Grayson, who is a scientific advisor for EpiBone, the company which we should all be watching.
While I was at the conference, I met with all of the companies are are exhibiting. Given that this field is very small and micro-niche, there was very few companies represented there so it was easy to talk with each of the companies and really understand their technology. One of only dozen exhibitors was this Sweden based company selling this 3D-Printer injected Bio-Material which they called “BioInk”. There was 3 guys there, a father-son team, and a 3rd young man. Recently, they presented their work at another conference, the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
I knew the instant that I talked with them that their technology could be used to print out new cartilage tissue. In fact, their specific purpose was dedicated towards cartilage tissue. The father of the group I had forgotten the name of until today, when in the website ScienceDaily.com, apparently their technology is mentioned in an article. Refer to “3-D printing could one day help fix damaged cartilage in knees, noses and ears.” It seems that the world is finally taking notice to Dr. Paul Gatenholm’s research. Apparently he has a team based in the Wallenberg Wood Science Center in Sweden. I have never been to Sweden myself but if there is another Tissue Engineering or Stem Cell Conference in Sweden (or Leipzig, Germany) I will attend that one. One of the most famous stem cell research places in the world is the Karolinska Institutet. I have read so far 2 Ph. D from people who did their graduate school there on research which pertains to our objectives. I never knew or heard of this extremely prestigious medical research based university until I maybe just 2013.
While we would love their research to be for making hyaline cartilage, their focus right now is for cosmetic reasons, working with plastic surgeons to make ears and nose tissue which might have been damaged and removed due to cancers and tumors. Which does give me hope in realizing that they are willing to use this technology for cosmetic as well as medical applications.
Apparently their composition/formulation to create their BioInk is the following… “mixed polysaccharides from brown algae and tiny cellulose fibrils from wood or made by bacteria, as well as human chondrocytes, which are cells that build up cartilage”
Since I talked with him personally (as well as his son who was at the conference) which was back in Oct of just last year, 2015, it seems that they have pushed further in their research and so far done what I had predicted in previous posts. Here is what they have already accomplished.
- They have figured out the right formulation combination to allow embedded chondrocytes and MSCs to survive in the culture medium.
- They have successfully moved the research from the lab dish into a living system, lab mice right now.
- The implanted tissue in the mice survived and actually turned into cartilage.
- They took MSCs derived from human bone marrow and mixed with with the chondrocytes.
- The result was a success in being able to multiply the number of chondrocytes, ie expand the cartilage tissue size volumetrically.
- Both chondrocyte and cartilage production was stimulated
- To make sure the jump into clinical trials (testing on humans) they have now found a plastic surgeon to consult with on what are the legal and regulatory steps to push forward.
Beyond just research, his company has found a cosmetic company they are partnering with to 3D-Print human skin tissue for probably grafts.