“Doctor, Did you make a print of the cartilage of my body?” Imagine asking your doctor this question. Although it may sound futuristic, the concept isn’t as far-fetched as many think. Even if it’s not your doctor who will remove your bone implant straight from the printer’s 3D model, companies in the biotechnology field are already working on the field of regenerative medicine.
One of the scientists pushing the boundaries includes Professor Liesbet Geris from The University of Liege (ULiege). She was among the recipients of the recent awards given to her by the AstraZeneca Foundation for her work which could be summarized as “in seeking out the shape of bone-implant used by cells.”
The jury from the Scientific Research Fund and its Dutch counterpart FWO, also known as the FWO, has decided to recognize the young engineer with a “gyroid” three-dimensional implant design.
The “gyroid” structure
The jury’s decision was based on the work of Geris along with her group on making numerical models using the thousands of records of previous transplants. This enabled her to create an exact shape that is simple to 3D print using a natural material found in bones, calcium phosphate.
Due to the particular shape – which is referred to as a “gyroid” structure, human cells are attracted to this specific biomaterial compared to the other designs currently being used. “It is a shape which resembles waves,” Geris explains. “If the structure is cut open, you will see that it is somewhat like waves. They’re straightforward for cells to move as they always have something to hold onto and pull themselves back to an implant.”
3D implants are specially designed for patients who – because of severe trauma, accident, or illness- cannot be assured of repairing bone tissue without implants because they are too large a “hole” that can be too big.
It could be individuals, for instance, who has a tumor that is gone or suffers from a genetic illness neurofibromatosis, for example, which is characterized in a few cases by bone loss. A different scenario is a person who requires a dental implant but does not have enough bone to place it on.
In each of these situations, it is possible to use a 3D-printed element that could be implanted. It is a biomaterial that will serve the purpose of attracting cells from the patient so that they can develop the new tissue around it, which will, in turn, fully integrate into the patient’s body.
Outside of Belgium and regenerative medicine, an American biotechnology firm has made artificial blood vessels available to injured Ukrainians with vascular lesions. They are HAV – Human cells: which is to say, are ready-to-use replacement vessels made to repair, build and replace damaged vessels.
Humacyte company has exported its vessels. Humacyte company has shipped their ships that are in the process of clinical evaluation to the six medical centers in Ukraine, including Kyiv and Kharkiv. The move was upon the request of a Ukrainian physician who was well-versed with this procedure.
Although the treatment has not yet been cleared for sale by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it has been dispensed to temporarily meet the requirements of people working in the field. This kind of vessel is being studied in various clinical trials and tested in more than 460 patient implantations.