Oct 4, 2017 | By Benedict

Symbiolab, an open source biolab at the IRNAS Institute in Slovenia, has developed a new 3D bioprinter. The Vitaprint platform uses two extruders and sterile syringes to fabricate woodpile structures, scaffolds, and more. Elsewhere, the FDA has approved two new 3D printed spine implants.


Vitaprint: an open source 3D bioprinter developed in Slovenia

With its promise to someday 3D print viable human organs for transplantation, bioprinting is one of the most exciting additive technologies out there. Its biggest drawback? Cost. Many popular 3D bioprinters cost upward of $200,000, if they’re even on sale at all.

That makes open source bioprinting projects like Vitaprint very exciting. While Symbiolab’s creation isn’t of the same caliber as models from Organovo, EnvisionTEC, and the like, it is—crucially—affordable. Think of it as a RepRap of bioprinting, giving researchers around the world a reasonable entry point to the world of bioprinting.

Symbiolab's Vitaprint 3D bioprinter

“Our main objective with Vitaprint is to bring bioprinting closer to the audience in medicine, animal medicine, [the] pharmacological industry, and other fields,” Symbiolab says. “We are developing fully functional open source solutions that reach the standards set by the commercial, high-end machines. Most of our focus is on designing an Open Source Syringe Extruder as a self-contained unit.”

The fully open source Vitaprint platform consists of hardware documentation, calibration protocols, printing methods, and g-code demo files, all of which can be found on the Vitaprint GitHub repository. Perhaps most excitingly, the platform can be modified in many ways to suit the needs of the end user.

At the center of the Vitaprint 3D bioprinting platform is the Vitaprint extruder, a self-contained syringe extruder that is transferrable to various CNC systems and which offers a “broad spectrum of uses.”

The Vitaprint bioprinter can process viscous liquids and pastes

The extruder features an aluminum body and a mechanical stepper motor drive with planetary reductor. This allows for what Symbiolab describes as “very precise extrusion control and high torque,” characteristics that allow the Vitaprint bioprinter to handle hydrogels, gluten, very viscous liquids, and even pastes.

In the current iteration of the Vitaprint platform, there are actually two of these extruders working in tandem, which allows the system to fabricate woodpiles, scaffolds, and other structures. For printing at a medically safe standard, the bioprinter also uses sterile, disposable syringes and gauge needles for aseptic mounting and deposition.

Symbiolab says the bioprinter works well with free CAD and slicing software, while the machine itself is also compact and easy to transport.

Although the 3D bioprinting platform can be built by others, Symbiolab is also keen to work with interested organizations to help them make the most of the open source system.

“We make the 3D biofabrication technology work for researchers and developers from science and industry, so they can focus on their core activity,” the lab explains.


ChoiceSpine and Nexxt Spine receive FDA clearance for 3D printed spinal products

Elsewhere in the medical 3D printing world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to rubber-stamp 3D printed implant solutions, widening the scope of 3D printed treatments available to patients.

Curiously, today saw the FDA approve two 3D printed spine implants from two separate medical device companies from the U.S. Those companies are ChoiceSpine LP, a privately-held spinal device manufacturer based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Nexxt Spine, LLC, a medical device company focused on designing, manufacturing, and distributing innovative spinal solutions based in Noblesville, Indiana.

ChoiceSpine's 3D printed HAWKEYE Ti device

Knoxville’s ChoiceSpine has received received 510(k) clearance for its HAWKEYE Ti, a 3D Printed Titanium Vertebral Body Replacement (VBR) device that builds upon the existing PEEK HAWKEYE portfolio while adding a 3D printed, open titanium structure optimized for bone in-growth.

“The clearance of our first additively manufactured device is a great achievement for the ChoiceSpine R&D team and the company,” said Rick Henson and Marty Altshuler, co-founders of ChoiceSpine. “HAWKEYE Ti allows us to meet the clinical demands of spine surgery in order to stay competitive in a dynamic market.”

The HAWKEYE Vertebral Body Replacement System contains small and large footprints that range in size from 10 to 50 mm in height with either 0° or 6° lordosis. ChoiceSpine says the addition of 3D printed implants will give a wider variety of options to surgeons.

For Nexxt Spine of Noblesville, there was also good news, with the medical device company also receiving 510(k) clearance—for its NEXXT MATRIXX System.

The NEXXT MATRIXX System is a range of 3D printed porous titanium implants that “leverage Nexxt generation technology to create interbody and VBR devices with optimized open architectural porosity, residue-free surface technology, and robust radiographic imaging performance.”

Nexxt Spine's 3D printed NEXXT MATRIXX system

The newly approved 3D printed implants purportedly exhibit up to four times more surface area for bone apposition and up to two times more open pore volume than conventional spinal implants, while the company also says textured titanium alloy surfaces (rather than totally smooth ones) elicit a positive bone response including an increase in osteoblast differentiation and surface osteointegration.

“The NEXXT MATRIXX System applies breakthrough technology to our company’s product portfolio and surgeon response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Andy Elsbury, President of Nexxt Spine. “We will continue to expand our NEXXT MATRIXX offering throughout 2017 and into 2018 to ensure this differentiated technology is available for all spinal fusion surgical approaches.”

Nexxt Spine says the first 3D printed NEXXT MATRIXX products are available in interbody and VBR options with various height, length, width, and lordotic angulation combinations.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Kelmet wrote at 10/6/2017 9:35:32 PM:

Typical Eastern Europeans. Looks like something the Marx brothers would throw together.

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