Mar. 3, 2015 | By Simon

Despite the developments we’ve been seeing in the medical sector for various 3D printing applications including prosthetics, physical ‘visualizations’ and others, many are born out of a research lab and have to go through several financial hoops before they are able to be used regularly by medical professionals.  Among other potential financial setbacks, doctors need to be trained and facilities need to be updated in order to make these 3D printing advancements viable solutions in today’s modern medical facilities.  On the flipside, those that do in fact get funded are viable to be good signs of how 3D printing will change the near future of medicine.  

Most recently, Japan-based Cyfuse Biomedical K.K, has developed a viable 3D printer for accurately producing synthetic 3D printed human tissue and have raised JP¥1.4 billion ($12 million) to further develop the technology. This brings the total financing for this startup to $16.5 million. The company’s Regenova 3D printer, which was developed with investor Shibuya Kogyo, is capable of turning living cell aggregates into artificial human tissue.  

The company, which 3Ders previously wrote about in January of 2014, was founded in 2010 by a former Panasonic Corp. engineer and a regenerative medicine researcher, has previously been selling their bioprinting 3D printers to Japanese universities for research purposes for roughly 40 million yen apiece.  

As for how the custom vascular tissue is created, researchers rely on the culturing of cellular aggregates called spheroids on fine needle arrays that adjacent spheroids use to form a connected, macroscopic structure over time without the use of collagen or hydrogel.  The researchers add a series of needles to the needle array to change the length and/or thickness of their intended output.  Depending on the arrangement of the needle array, it is able to ensure circulation of the culture medium and oxygen until it is mature enough to be used.

Already, the team has successfully been able to print 2-3mm diameter blood vessels in under ten days using this unique needle array system.  The Regenova could be used by drugmakers and cosmetic companies to test their products on living tissue (thus eliminating trials on living beings) as well as create transplants for humans based on a person’s own existing living cells.  

 

“Bio 3-D printing technology is going to push regenerative medicine forward,” said Koji Kuchiishi, Cyfuse’s CEO.  

“Someday we are going to see a world where we can regenerate body parts such as blood vessels, hearts and livers.”

The recent financing is backed by 12 domestic investors, including medical-device manufacturer Shibuya Kogyo Co., health information provider M3 Inc., Daiwa as well as Jafco Co, Nippon Venture Capital, DBJ Capital and the University of Tokyo Edge Capital.

While Cyfuse already has a working product, they plan to use the $12 million to increase their sales force and fund clinical trials of their products for more applications. Among other goals on their list include expanding their sales outside of Japan and into international universities and research labs including those in the USA and Europe. In addition, Cyfuse will establish a cell processing facility for clinical use and continue development of further applications of its tissue engineering technology.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Company

 

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