Feb 5, 2016 | By Kira

Belgium is known for its sugar-filled dessert waffles, however Bone Therapeutics, a Belgian biotech company specializing cell therapy for bone fracture repair, alongside French bone substitute specalist Kasios, are now working to develop an entirely different kind of ‘waffle’—one that is 3D bioprinted, and could be used to significantly improve next-generation bone disease therapy.

This biotech collaboration will see Bone Therapeutics combine its proprietary ALLOB osteoblastic cell therapy product with Kasios’ spinal fusion cage, which is made from a 3D bioprinted synthetic matrix, also known as a ‘waffle’ due to its grid-like structure. The resulting product is expected to simplify spinal fusion surgical procedures while accelerating the actual bone-fusion process.

Bone Therapeutics aims to be a leading regenerative company providing unique cell therapy products for bone fracture repair and fracture prevention. The medtech company’s treatment approach uses “differentiated bone-forming cells administered via a minimally invasive percutaneous [needle-puncture as opposed to open surgery] procedure” that is expected to reduce the long recovery times associated with bone damage by improving osteoblastic (bone regeneration) capacity.

Meanwhile, Kasios is a French biotech company that specializes in the development, manufacture, and sales of spinal fusion cages and synthetic bone substitutes made from calcium phosphate biomaterials.

Currently, Bone Therapeutics offers two products in its cell therapy range for bone fracture repair: PREOB, an osteoblastic cell therapy product using ex vivo cultured bone marrow cells derived from the same patient (autologous); and ALLOB, an ‘off-the-shelf’ product derived from cells of various volunteer donors (making it an allogeneic product). ALLOB is currently in phase II proof-of-concept trials for treatment of delayed-union fractures and spinal fusion procedures.

Indeed, spinal fusion is considered a ‘gold standard’ in the treatment of many degenerative spine disorders. It consists of two or more vertebrae being fused together thanks to a cage and graft material, made from either an autologous or synthetic bone substitute. The porous bone substitute allows the patients’ natural bone tissue to grow throughout it, fusing an unstable portion of the spine or immobilizing a painful segment, thereby relieving pain and improving function. Yet although spinal fusions are popular in the medical community, it is still quite common for vertebrae fusion to fail and for the patient to continue experiencing pain.

3D bioprinted bone scaffolds and implants have already proven to be a particularly interesting avenue for bone therapy researchers seeking to improve spinal fusion treatments. Biocompatible 3D printed materials can be manufactured to patient-specific requirements, and retain the same porous structure as natural bones, allowing, and, in the case of K2M’s Lamellar Titanium Technology, even encouraging the patient’s own tissue to grow throughout the scaffold as the body heals.

By combining Bone Therapeutics’ ALLOB osteoblastic cell therapy product with Kasios’ 3D bioprinted ‘waffle’ cage, the two biotech aim to create an integrated, ready-to-use product for surgeons that simplifies the procedure, reduces operation time, and improves the spinal fusion treatment’s outcome.

Kasio's PLIF Kage holds a 3D bioprinted 'waffle' structure known as KG Bone Lumbar

This is in fact the second collaboration between the Belgian and French biotechs—a previous partnership formed in 2014 saw them successfully combine Kasios’ synthetic micro-granules with ALLOB cells in preclinical studies, resulting in increased bone formation.  With this second and more advanced collaboration, the companies surely hope to achieve even stronger results in their mission to improve regenerative bone therapy.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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