Feb 24, 2017 | By Benedict
Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan have used 3D bioprinting to create tubular conduits that can regenerate damaged nerve cells. The group used a Regenova 3D bioprinter from Cyfuse Biomedical.
Cyfuse Biomedical's Regenova 3D bioprinter
The Regenova 3D bioprinter from Cyfuse Biomedical might be too expensive for your average research lab, but it seems that anyone given a chance to work with the Kenzan Method 3D bioprinter eventually will eventually make some important scientific discovery with the technology. The latest research project to make use of Cyfuse Biomedical equipment (and, for that matter, expertise—Cyfuse cofounder Koichi Nakayama and other Cyfuse employees contributed to the project) involved the creation of a “scaffold-free Bio 3D conduit developed from human fibroblasts.” The tiny tubular structures were used to promote nerve regeneration in rats, and could eventually be used for similar purposes on humans.
In a research paper that was published in PLOS ONE on February 13, the Kyoto University researchers explain how they were able to develop six scaffold-free conduits from human dermal fibroblasts using the Cyfuse Biomedical Regenova 3D bioprinter. The same researchers then took 12 adult male rats with immune deficiency, cutting out small sections of the right sciatic nerve of each rat at the mid-thigh area. For six of these rats, the 5 mm gap in the nerve was later bridged using the 8 mm 3D printed conduits; for the other six, a silicone tube—the current standard in such operations—was used.
Fig. A shows the more effective 3D bioprinted conduit, Fig. B shows the less effective silicone tube
Excitingly, the Kyoto University researchers found that the 3D bioprinted conduits helped to promote nerve regeneration in the rats at a faster rate than the silicone tubes, providing evidence that 3D bioprinting could someday be used to help patients recovering from nerve injuries. The researchers measured the metatarsal swing, muscle action potential, and neural cell expression in the rats, finding that the 3D bioprinted conduits were better for improving recovery on all counts. The wet muscle weight of the tibialis anterior muscle was also found to be higher in the 3D bioprinted group than the silicone group.
In light of their discoveries, the Japanese researchers determined that 3D bioprinted conduits can be used to effectively promote nerve regeneration. “We confirmed that scaffold-free Bio 3D conduits composed entirely of fibroblast cells promote nerve regeneration in a rat sciatic nerve model,” they wrote.
If the success of the project could be duplicated on human subjects, the 3D bioprinting research carried out by Kyoto University and Cyfuse Biomedical could have a significant impact upon the medical world. In Japan alone, 5,000 to 10,000 people suffer nerve-related injuries annually because of work-related accidents and other reasons. A clinical trial is expected to take place in 2019.
The 3D bioprinted conduit, designed digitally (Fig. A) and then printed (Fig. B)
The researchers involved in the study were Hirofumi Yurie, Ryosuke Ikeguchi, Tomoki Aoyama, Yukitoshi Kaizawa, Junichi Tajino, Akira Ito, Souichi Ohta, Hiroki Oda, Hisataka Takeuchi, Shizuka Akieda, Manami Tsuji, Koichi Nakayama, and Shuichi Matsuda.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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