Jan 6, 2017 | By Julia

3D printing has come leaps and bounds in the fields of medicine and biotechnology in recent years. Yet whereas developments such as 3D printed prosthetics make headlines rather frequently, less often do we see news of bioprinting, the highly complicated (and costly) 3D printing of biological tissue and organs through the layering of living cells.

But Aspect Biosystems, a Canadian biotechnology company and a leader in the field of bioprinting and tissue engineering, is interested in changing that. Yesterday Aspect announced a new research collaboration with healthcare specialists DePuy Synthes Products Inc, a partnership that promises to put bioprinting on the map in a whole new way. The collaboration, facilitated by DePuy’s parent company and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson Innovation, will see Aspect’s Lab-on-a-Printer bioprinting platform being used to develop bioprinted knee meniscus suitable for surgical therapy.

For those unfamiliar, the meniscus is a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your thighbone and shinbone, and is akin to your knee’s “shock absorber.” Tearing your meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries, and incidence could rise with an aging population. Surgical treatment of a torn meniscus may involve partial or complete removal which is linked with increased incidence of osteoarthritis.

To address the issue, Aspect and DePuy will collectively develop a prototype artificial meniscus using Aspect’s bioprinting platform Lab-on-a-Printer, an important step towards benefiting patients post-surgery.

a specialist in the Aspect lab

“We are very excited to work with a global healthcare leader like DePuy Synthes” said Tamer Mohamed, President and CEO of Aspect Biosystems. “This collaboration marks a significant step for Aspect to apply our 3D bioprinting platform technology in developing groundbreaking tissue replacement therapies that hold the real potential to improve quality of life for patients.”

As for Depuy, the new deal with Aspect will put Johnson & Johnson’s total collaborations and partnerships to over 300 since the corporation was first established.

"We continue to pursue transformative healthcare solutions and form collaborations that explore the cutting edge of scientific research to achieve our primary goal of improving the quality of patients' lives," explained Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson.

"Through Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we are committed to identifying and advancing novel solutions in areas of significant need and creating customized deal structures with innovators in an effort to accelerate products to market."

And with developments well underway for the two companies’ bioprinting collaboration, we can assume it’s only a matter of time before other 3D printing and biotech research solutions come to the fore.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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