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Archive for the ‘3D Printing for Medical Application’ Category


Mechanistic link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and increased risk of stroke using 3D printed models and human endothelial cells

Reporter: Adina Hazan, PhD

 

Kaneko, et al.  from UCLA aimed to explore why SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with an increased rate of cerebrovascular events, including

  • ischemic stroke and
  • intracerebral hemorrhage

While some suggested mechanisms include an overall systemic inflammatory response including increasing circulating cytokines and leading to a prothrombotic state, this may be only a partial answer. A SARS-CoV-2 specific mechanism could be likely, considering that both angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), the receptor necessary for SARS-CoV-2 to gain entry into the cell, and SARS-CoV-2 RNA have been reportedly detected in the human brain postmortem.

One of the difficulties in studying vasculature mechanisms is that the inherent 3D shape and blood flow subject this tissue to different stressors, such as flow, that could be critically relevant during inflammation. To accurately study the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the vasculature of the brain, the team generated 3D models of the human middle cerebral artery during intracranial artery stenosis using data from CT (computed tomography) angiography. This data was then exported with important factors included such as

  • shear stress during perfusion,
  • streamlines, and
  • flow velocity to be used to fabricate 3D models.

These tubes were then coated with endothelial cells isolated and sorted from normal human brain tissue resected during surgery. In doing so, this model could closely mimic the cellular response of the vasculature of the human brain.

Surprisingly, without this 3D tube, human derived brain endothelial cells displayed very little expression of ACE2 or, TMPRSS2 (transmembrane protease 2), a necessary cofactor for SARS-COV-2 viral entry.

Interestingly,

  • horizontal shear stress increased the expression of ACE2 and
  • increased the binding of spike protein to ACE2, especially within the stenotic portion of the 3D model.

By exposing the endothelial cells to liposomes expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, they also were able to explore key upregulated genes in the exposed cells, in which they found that

  • “binding of SARS-CoV-2 S protein triggered 83 unique genes in human brain endothelial cells”.

This included many inflammatory signals, some of which have been previously described as associated with SARS-COV-2, and others whose effects are unknown. This may provide an important foundation for exploring potential therapeutic targets in patients susceptible to cerebrovascular events.

Overall, this study shows important links between the

  • mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 and the
  • increase in ischemic events in these patients. It also has important implications for
  • treatment for SARS-CoV-2, as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis may be increasing ACE2 expression in patients, providing the entry port for viral particles into brain endothelia.

SOURCE:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.032764

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Human Heart

Reporters: Justin D. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/09/29/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-human-heart/

 

SAR-Cov-2 is probably a vasculotropic RNA virus affecting the blood vessels: Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – Bold face and colors are my addition

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/06/01/sar-cov-2-is-probably-a-vasculotropic-rna-virus-affecting-the-blood-vessels-endothelial-cell-infection-and-endotheliitis-in-covid-19/

 

Diagnosis of Coronavirus Infection by Medical Imaging and Cardiovascular Impacts of Viral Infection, Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN  Lead Curator – e–mail: avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu

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First-ever living 3D printed aneurysm

 

Reporter : Irina Robu, PhD

A brain aneurysm is a bulge that forms in the blood vessel of your brain that could lead to severe health issues and possibly death. Brain aneurysm affect about one in 50 Americans and can lead to serious medical emergencies including stroke and brain damage.  Current treatments for brain aneurysm are limited and very invasive and can vary from person to person.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and their collaborators were able to replicate an aneurysm in vitro by 3D printing blood vessels with human cerebral cells. One of the leading engineers, William Hynes  performed an endovascular repair procedure on the printed aneurysm by inserting a catheter into blood vessel and tightly packed platinum coils inside the aneurysm sac. Afterward, the scientists introduced blood plasma into the aneurysm and identified the formation of blood clot where the coils were located and they were able to observe the post-op healing process of the endothelial cells within the vessels.

One thing that was obvious to the LLNL scientists is that computer modeling is an important step to developing patient-specific care for aneurysms based on patient’s blood vessel geometry, blood pressure and other factors. They also determined that it takes time for the new surgical technology to move from laboratory to the clinic.

The idea is if they can replicate the aneurysms as much as needed using  animal models or 3D printing, they can help find better options for aneurysms with uncontrollable geometries.  Since, the most common treatment for aneurysms is  the endovascular metal coiling approach, researchers believe  that by taking out the guesswork out of aneurysms treatment researchers can design more predictive 3D models that takes patient geometry into account.

Hynes teamed with former LLNL scientist Duncan Maitland and Amanda Randles, a former Lab computational scientist  to verify if Randles’s flow dynamic model compares with the real world. At low flow rates, scientist saw little movement of blood into the aneurysm, while an increased flow rate, resulted in a circular flow of blood throughout the aneurysm, as would be predictable in a true brain aneurysm.  

Using the data obtained from the flow dynamic model in combination with the 3D printing platform, researchers developed a potential tool for surgeons to pre-select the best coil types desirable to fully pack an aneurysm to obtain the best treatment outcome, and perform “test runs” of procedures before attempting them on the human patient.

Unlike animal models, LLNL’s platform allows scientists to directly measure the fluid dynamics inside the vessels and aneurysm while maintaining biological relevance.

In addition to patient-specific care and serving as a testbed for surgical training, researchers mentioned that the platform can improve the understanding of basic biology and the post-surgery healing response. Even though the results are promising, researchers mentioned that there is long way before their platform is applicable in a clinical environment setting.

SOURCE :

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/lab-team-develops-first-ever-living-3d-printed-aneurysm-improve-surgical-procedures-personalize?utm_source=fiat-lux

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Rare earth-doped nanoparticles applications in biological imaging and tumor treatment

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Bioimaging  aims to interfere as little as possible with life processes and can be used to gain information on the 3-D structure of the observed specimen from the outside. Bioimaging ranges from  the observation of subcellular structures and the entire cells over tissues up to entire multicellular organisms. The technology uses light, fluorescence, ultrasound, X-ray, magnetic resonance as sources of imaging. The more common imaging is fluorescence imaging which is used to monitor the dynamic interaction between the drug molecules and tumor cells and the ability to monitor the real time dynamic process in biological tissues.

Researchers from the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics (XIOPM) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) described the recent progress they made in the rare earth-doped nanoparticles in the field of bio-engineering and tumor treatment. It is well known that producing small nanoparticles with good dispersion and exploitable optical coherence properties is highly challenging. According to them, these rare earth-doped nanoparticles can be vested with additional capabilities such as water solubility, biocompatibility, drug-loading ability and the target ability for different tumors by surface functionalization. The luminescent properties and structure design were also looked at.

According to the Chinese researchers, for applying the RE-doped NPs to the diagnosis and treatment of tumors, their first goal is to improve water solubility and biocompatibility.  The second goal would be to give the nanoparticles the ability to target tumors by surface functionalization. Lastly, biocompatible water-soluble tumor-targeting NPs can be used as carriers to load drugs for treatment of tumor cells. All things considered, the recent research progress on the development of fluorescence intensity of NPs, surface modification, and tumor targeted diagnosis and treatment has also been emphasized.

SOURCE

https://nano-magazine.com/news/2020/8/20/application-of-rare-earth-doped-nanoparticles-in-biological-imaging-and-tumor-treatment?ss_source=sscampaigns

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Surgical Planning and 3D bioprinting

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

The cardiovascular team at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital found a solution for better surgical planning using 3D printing. As a pediatric center, Glennon Children’s Hospital deals with the most complex patients, which requires surgeries within days or weeks of birth. According to the center, one of the pediatric patients was an infant diagnosed in utero via fetal ultrasound with an unusual form of switch of great arteries. Deoxygenated blue blood entered the right atrium which connected to the left ventricle, then to the aorta and the oxygenated red blood entered the left atrium which connects to the right ventricle and then to the pulmonary artery. The pediatric patients had a very large ventricular septal defect connecting both ventricles and severe narrowing between the left ventricle and the aorta.

It is obvious that the patient was fairly blue as deoxygenated blood was directed toward the aorta. The balloon atrial septostomy made in the first few days of life. Yet, the tachycardia persisted. The surgical team from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, led by Charles Huddleston, MD used 3D printing to identify the anatomy of the patient clearly and provided them with the ability to repair the mitral valve. It seems that the neonatal atrial switch appeared to be the best plan, even if the operation proved challenging.

The team knew that they could go into the procedure knowing that the tissue can be safely removed without damage to the mitral valve. The team was able to show that the 3D model was essential in determining the optimal surgical approach and with the help of the 3D printed heart model, the neonatal atrial switch, the VSD closure and the subaortic stenosis resection was performed effectively on a 20-day infant. The surgery allowed the mitral valve function to remain intact. The pediatric patient cardiac function improved gradually and is expected to have an excellent recovery.

SOURCE

https://www.javelin-tech.com/3d/surgical-planning-3d-printed-heart/

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Philly Biotech Scene: Biobots and 3D Bioprinting (Now Called Allevi)

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Biobots now known as Allevi, Inc..  Their new Biobots community has been renamed Allevi Academy.

The goal of BioBots has always been the same: Give laboratories the ability to create living things from scratch. Those things–such as pieces of tissue or bone–could then be studied with the hopes of finding cures and solving diseases.

That vision helped the company’s co-founders, Ricky Solorzano and Danny Cabrera, land on Inc.’s 30 Under 30 list in 2016. And while the original goal has remained, much has changed. In August, Cabrera, the company’s first CEO, left the Philadelphia-based startup. And in November, the company rebranded, changing its name to a more mature but far less memorable name, Allevi.

“People think running a startup is just a straight line, that you go in one direction,” Solorzano, who has since shifted from CTO to CEO, tells Inc. “You really go up, down, sideways, left, right, 45 degrees this way, 90 degrees that way.”

For Solorzano and Cabrera, the split represents the end of an era. The two Miami residents both attended the University of Pennsylvania, where they first discussed the idea of developing an affordable three-dimensional printer that could produce living tissue. They founded the company together in 2014.

The following is based on an interview back in 2016 I did with Biobots founders Danial Cabrera, Ricardo Solorzano, and Sohaib Hashimi.

A year ago (2014), we founded BioBots in a dorm room on top of a noisy college bar with the mission of conquering the largest mystery of our generation – life. Disillusioned with existing tools and technologies for engineering organisms, and inspired by the idea of biology as technology, we launched BioBots with a command: “Build with Life.”

It only took a few weeks for our first apostles to join us. Dr. Dan Huh and his student Yooni at Penn began working with a prototype that would become the first BioBot. With the help and unyielding support of our early clients and partners like Elliot Menschik at DreamIt Health, we began the journey of bringing biofabrication technology to people across the world.

Today hundreds of labs are turning to BioBots for tools that allow them to engineer biology. I am constantly inspired by our partners’ research projects, goals and progress; they consistently remind me that we are accelerating the pace not only of regenerative medicine, but of human evolution.

None of this would be possible without all of our BioBot employees, their families, our friends in the media, investors, and most importantly – our visionary clients, who continue to pour their passion, talents, energy and love into building this company. A year ago we were two guys in a bar. Today, hundreds of supporters have taken up the mantle of biofabricator.

Our vision at BioBots is to make tools that harness life as an engineering discipline and push the human race forward. We look forward to helping you do much more and test the boundary of what we can build with biology.  Thank you for being a part of our journey!

BioBots to Bring Revolutionary 3D Bioprinter to the Masses with $5,000 Beta Program & Eventually Print Whole Organs

“​Life is the oldest and most efficient manufacturing technology that we as people know of. It’s become clear over the past several decades as scientists have engineered life to work for us, that biology is the next frontier for manufacturing. However, there is one thing missing. ​Doing biology today is the equivalent of computer programming 50 years ago – it’s inefficient, it’s slow, and the technology is only available to scientists at well-funded institutions​, out of the hands of the ordinary people that could be leading this new revolution​.” ~ BioBots CEO Danny Cabrera to 3DPrint.com

BioBots is a company launched by Daniel Cabrera, a recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Engineering School, as well as Ricardo Solorzano and Sohaib Hashmi, who are staff research specialists in the Perelman School of Medicine (UPenn). The three got together to create a 3D bioprinter capable of printing in multiple body tissues. While this certainly isn’t the first ever bioprinter created, Cabrera tells us that it is not the same as others on the market today.

“Employing the tool that transformed traditional avenues of manufacturing, we at BioBots are using 3D printers to engineer biology,” Cabrera told 3DPrint.com. “Our 3D bioprinters employ the use of a novel extrusion process that addresses the previous technical hurdles of 3D bioprinting, as well as a biomaterials cartridge system that makes this revolutionary technology accessible to untrained users. Just imagine ​the kind of products that people will build now that they can plug and print living tissues. At BioBots, we are building this future, today.”

The BioBot 3D printer works with both “Blue Light” and UV light. The cell solution, which contains living, growing cells as well as vasculature for nourishment, is extruded from the 3D printer in a similar fashion to how at-home fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers work. However, different from your typical FFF 3D printer, once a biological material has been extruded, an ultraviolet light (or Blue Light) cures and hardens it. This occurs one layer at a time until the desired object is printed.  The objects printed can be living cell tissue or non-living scaffolds, and Cabrera tells us that over a dozen different cell types have been used with these printers so far. The unique cartridge system that BioBots’ bioprinter uses, enable users to easily switch between the printing of different biological materials, almost as easily as a normal desktop printer can switch between colors.

“We have won several innovation competitions and recently received funding from DreamIt Health, a start-up accelerator program based out of Philadelphia,” said Cabrera. “We are opening a Beta program with the goal of placing printers in the hands of the best experts and working with them to generate publishable data. The idea is to generate interest in this area and inform scientists about the tool we’re developing through published research. We currently have Beta tester relationships in place with Dr. Dan Huh’s lab at Penn, Dr. Kara Spiller’s lab in Drexel, and Dr. Kevin Costa’s lab in Mt. Sinai and are definitely looking to expand.”

The company is also open to accepting many new Beta testers into the program. That program costs a mere $5,000 and supplies the following benefits to the testers:

  • A 3D bioprinter (80um resolution) capable of extruding a variety of hydrogels (collagen, alginate, agarose, polyethylene glycol, hyaluronic acid, etc.)
  • 1 Year service agreement & active development for your bioprinter
  • BioBots software package
  • Access to an online community of collaborators who are working together to solve tough tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and biomaterials problems
  • Having your work showcased at a number of conferences that BioBots has been invited to speak at

For those interested in joining the Beta program, they are asked to email the company for more details.

The team behind BioBots is equally as impressive as the machine itself. Cabrera has recently graduated from UPenn, where he studied computer science and biology, and won first place in the North America International Genetically Engineered Machines competition for his work on automating genetic engineering work flows and making life easier to engineer. The company’s CTO has been working in the field of regenerative medicine for about 4 years, and has authored several papers on building 3D blood vessels. He actually built the first BioBots prototype from his dorm room at UPenn.

While the Beta program is meant as a way in which the company can build up their user base, solidify a community of doctors, engineers, designers, educators and students, and test out their latest version of their BioBots bioprinter, others can pre-order the printer for $25,000. The team isn’t only targeting Ph.D researchers. They want these machines to be used by educators and researchers everywhere. “Our 3D bioprinters enable users to easily print high resolution biological structures – whether you’re a researcher on the frontier of regenerative medicine or a high school biology teacher,” said Cabrera.

While we are still far away from 3D printing working organs, the fact that BioBots offers a 3D printer capable of printing in a vast array of biological materials at a price starting as low as $5,000, means that this technology can reach the hands of virtually any researchers interested in studying the potential that it holds for the future. Other bioprinters from larger companies can cost upwards of $250,000, severely limiting access.  This is wear BioBots may become quite revolutionary.

Cabrera tells us that they are working on curriculum/lesson plans to go along with their printers, so that high school students can learn about bioprinting through the use of these relatively affordable machines.

When I asked Cabrera how long he thinks it will be, before we see fully printed working organs, he told me that it isn’t about the technology not being there, but rather its about researchers being able to come up with ways to use it. His guess is that within the next 10-15 years we may see the first 3D printed working organ.

What do you think? Will the BioBots 3D bioprinter lead the way in allowing researchers to fully investigate and innovate upon this technology? Discuss in theBioBots forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the videos below, including the first one, showing a demo of the BioBots printer using photocurable PEG.

 Source: https://www.biobots.io/news-article/biobots-to-bring-revolutionary-3d-bioprinter-to-the-masses-with-5000-beta-program-eventually-print-whole-organs/

Biobots offers, on their site at https://www.biobots.io/build-with-life/

  • Wikis: where one can browse through these pages to learn about established biotechnologies, tissue fabrication methods, foundational advances in biology and in our ability to design and engineer living things.
  • Protocols: where one can find information in a “Use the protocols section” to learn more about how to interact with your BioBot 1, different bioinks, and new emerging biofabrication techniques. This is the place to develop and share new methods.
  • BioReports: a collection of experimental logs with methodology used and results obtained from experiments using the BioBot systems

Advantages of the Biobots system

PRECISION

Our team of engineers has worked hard to ensure precision in every aspect of BioBot 1. We use linear rails over less expensive belt systems that slip and require adjustment, guaranteeing a consistent 10 micron precision on each axis.

 

Other Articles on this Open Access Journal on 3D Bioprinting Include:

A Revolution in Medicine: Medical 3D BioPrinting

Audio Podcasts – 3D Medical BioPrinting Technology

Global Technology Conferences on 3D BioPrinting 2015 – 2016

Volume Four: Medical 3D BioPrinting – The Revolution in Medicine

 

 

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via Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

Christopher-coverAntonio Giordano, MD, PhD. explains what COVID is and how to contain the infection, pointing also to what will require attention next.

Please see this special release at http://online.fliphtml5.com/qlnw/zgau/#p=1

 

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Expanding 3D Printing in Cardiology

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

3D printing is a fabrication technique used to transform digital objects into physical models, which builds structures of arbitrary geometry by depositing material in successive layers on the basis of specific digital design. Even though, the use of 3D bioprinting in cardiovascular medicine is relatively new development, advancement within this discipline is occurring at such a rapid rate. Most cardiologists believed the costs would be too high for routine use such that the price tag was better for academic applications.

Now as the prices are starting to lower, the idea of using 3D printed models of organs vessels and tissue manufactured based on CT, MRI and echocardiography might be beneficial according to Dr. Fadi Matar, professor at University of South Florida. He and his cardiology colleagues use 3D printed models to allow them to view patient’s complex anatomies before deciding what treatments to pursue. The models allow them to calculate the size and exact placement of devices which has led to shorter procedure time and better outcome.

In a study published in Academic Radiology, David Ballard, professor at University School of Medicine appraised the costs of setting up a 3D printing lab including the commercial printer plus software, lab space, materials and staffing. According to Ballard’s team, the commercial printers start at $12,000 but can be as high as high as $500,000.

According to American Medical Association-approved Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes allows cardiology relief from setting up a new 3D printing lab such as Codes 0559T and 0560T, for individually prepared 3D-printed anatomical models with one or more components (including arteries and veins) and Codes 0561T and 0562T, which are for the production of personalized 3D-printed cutting or drilling tools that use patient imaging data and often are used to guide or facilitate surgery.

These codes have been met with enthusiasm by teams eyeing 3D printing, but there are noteworthy limitations to Category III codes—which are temporary codes describing emerging technologies, services and procedures that are used for tracking effectiveness data. It is important to note that Category III codes are not reimbursed but often are a step toward reimbursement.

New and improved materials also might lead to a sharper focus on 3D printing in cardiology. Dr. Fadi Matar says companies are working on materials that better mimic elements of the heart. Such “mimicry” ought to enhance the value of 3D-printed models since they will give cardiologists more realistic insights into how specific devices will interact with an individual patient’s heart. Even with the complex modalities of using 3D bioprinting, in time there would be less obstacles to being able to set up a 3D bioprinter lab.

SOURCE

https://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/topics/cardiovascular-imaging/seeing-future-3d-new-cpt-codes-set-stage-expanding-3d-printing

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3D-Printed Brain Clear the Way to Find Cancer Treatments

Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

Glioblastomas are aggressive and malignant grade IV brain tumors and can located wherever in the brain and do not regularly spread outside of the brain. Common symptoms patients with glioblastoma experience include headaches, seizures, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness, visual changes, language deficit, and cognitive changes. Glioblastomas tend to affect older individuals (age 45 to 70) with rare occurrences in children. Treatment methods typically include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and alternating electric fields therapy.

Scientists at Northwestern University developed a technique to study their fast spreading cancer using a 3D structure made of agglomeration of human brain cells and biomaterials, which can help doctors better understand how the tumor grows and speed up the potential discovery of novel drugs to fight it. A water-based substance serves as a matrix to hold the cells into place. However, inside the living brain, scientists can’t observe how the tumor cells grow or respond the treatment and they have to use mice/rats to understand tumor development. Animal studies are expensive and time consuming, but the 3D printed live tissue allows researchers to study glioblastoma to be studied more directly.

To understand what happens inside the 3D model, the researchers used a laser to scan the sample and create a snapshot of the cellular structure. This combination allows them to assess the effectiveness of a commonly used chemotherapy drug, temozolomide. The drug, temozolomide kills glioblastoma cells in two-dimensional models, but when put into a three-dimensional one, the tumor rebounded which implies that the drug did not work in the long term.

This 3D model may be able to speed up that process to weed out ineffective drugs first, confirming that only the most promising ones move to animal, and eventually human, trials.

SOURCE

A 3D-printed brain could make it easier to find cancer treatments

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How is the 3D Printing Community Responding to COVID-19?

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

 

As the new pandemic COVID-19 takes over the globe, several countries are implementing travel restrictions, social distancing and work from home policies. Healthcare systems are overloaded and fatigued by this new coronavirus (COVID-19). Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, patients require specialist respirators to take over the role of the lungs. These respirators are in short supply, however, along with medical personnel, hospital space and other personal safety equipment required to treat patients.

Professional AM providers, makers and designers in the 3D printing community have started to answer to the global crisis by volunteering their respective skills to ease the pressure on supply chains and governments. The additive manufacturing and 3D printing community has numerous members keen to support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A hospital in Brescia, Italy with 250 Coronavirus patients lacking breathing machines has recently run out of the respiratory valves needed to connect the patients to the machines. In response to the situation, the CEO of Isinnova, Cristian Fracassi used 3D bioprinting to produce 100 respirator valves in 24 hours, which are currently being put to use in the Brescian hospital.

At the same time, Materialise, has released files for a 3D printed hands-free door handle attachment to lessen Coronavirus transmission via one of the most common mediums. Door handles are exposed to a lot of physical contact over the course of a day, especially in public spaces such as offices and hospitals. The 3D printable add-on allows users to carry out the lever action required to pop open most modern doors using their elbows.

Protolabs, a leading on-demand manufacturer with 3D Printing is using rapid production methods to good use during the current Coronavirus outbreak by producing components for #COVID19 test kits and ventilators. California-based Airwolf3D volunteered their own fleet of 3D printers for the manufacturing of respirator valves and custom medical components. The company is also offering remote technical support for medical staff that would like to know more about 3D printing.

Volkswagen has started a task force that will adapt its car-making capacity and manufacturing facilities to the production of hospital ventilators and medical devices. Using their own 125 industrial 3D printers to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, Volkswagen is donating face masks to healthcare providers and local authorities as part of an agreement made with German Health Minister.

Stratasys has organized its global 3D printing resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by printing full-face shields to provide protection to healthcare workers. The company showed that the strength of 3D bioprinting can be adapted on the fly to address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things.
Doctors, hospital technicians and 3D-printing specialists are also using Google Docs, WhatsApp groups and online databases to trade tips for building, fixing and modifying machines like ventilators to help treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The efforts come as supply shortages loom in one of the biggest challenges for health care systems around the world.

SOURCE

3D Printing Community responds to COVID-19 and Coronavirus resources

 

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 A Revolution in Medicine: Medical 3D BioPrinting

Curated by : Irina Robu, PhD

Imagine a scenario, where years from now, one of your organs stop working properly. What would you do?  The current option is to wait in line for a transplant, hoping that the donor is a match. But what if you can get an organ ready for you with no chance of rejection? Even though it may sound like science fiction at the current moment, organ 3D bioprinting can revolutionize medicine and health care.

I have always found the field of tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting fascinating. What interests me about 3D bioprinting is that it has the capacity to be a game changer, because it would make organs widely available to those who need them and it would eliminate the need for a living or deceased donor.  Moreover, it would be beneficial for pediatric patients who suffer specific problems that the current bio-prosthetic options might not address. It would minimize the risk of rejection as well as the components would be customized to size.

There have been advancements in the field of 3D bioprinting and one such advancement is using a 3D printed cranium by neurosurgeons at the University Medical Centre Utrecht. The patient was a young woman who suffered from a chronic bone disorder. The 3D reconstruction of her skull would minimize the brain damage that might have occurred if doctors used a durable plastic cranium.

So, what exactly is bioprinting? 3D bioprinting is an additive manufacturing procedure where biomaterials, such as cells and growth factors, are combined to generate tissue-like structures that duplicate natural tissues. At its core, bioprinting works in a similar way to conventional 3D printing. A digital model becomes a physical 3D object layer-by-layer.  However, in the case of bioprinting, a living cell suspension is used instead of a thermoplastic.

The procedure mostly involves preparation, printing, maturation and application and can be summarized in three steps:

  1. Pre-bioprinting step which includes creating a digital model obtained by using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans which are then fed to the printer.
  2. Bioprinting step where the actual printing process takes place, where the bioink is placed in a printer cartridge and deposition occurs based on the digital model.
  3. Post-bioprinting step is the mechanical and chemical stimulation of printed parts in order to create stable biostructures which can ultimately be implanted.

3D bioprinting allows suitable microarchitectures that provide mechanical stability and promote cell ingrowth to be produced while preventing any homogeneity issues that occur after conventional cell seeding, such as cell placement. Immediate vascularization of implanted scaffolds is critical, because it provides an influx of nutrients and outflow of by-products preventing necrosis. The benefits of homogeneous seeded scaffolds are that it allows them to integrate faster into the host tissue, uniform cell growth in vivo and lower risk of rejection.

However, in order to address the limitations of the commercially available technology for producing tissue implants, researchers are working to develop a 3D bioprinter that can fit into a laminar flow hood, ultra-low cost and customizable for different organs. Bioprinting can be applied in a clinical setting where the ultimate goal is to implant 3D bioprinted structures into the patients, it is necessary to maintain sterile printing solutions and ensure accuracy in complex tissues, needed for cell-to-cell distances and correct output.

The final aim of bioprinting is to promote an alternative to autologous and allogeneic tissue implants, which will replace animal testing for the study of disease and development of treatments.  We know that for now a short-term goal for 3D bioprinting is to create alternatives to animal testing and to increase the speed of drug testing. The long-term goal is to change the status quo, to develop a personalized organ made from patient’s own cells. However, some ethical challenges still exist regarding the ownership of the organ.

A powerful starting point is the creation of tissue components for heart, liver, pancreas, and other vital organs.  Moreover, each small progress in 3D bioprinting will allow 3D bioprinting to make organs widely available to those who need them, instead of waiting years for a transplant to become available.

I invite you to read a biomedical e-book that I had the pleasure to author along with several other scientists, called Medical 3D BioPrinting – The Revolution in Medicine Technologies for Patient-centered Medicine: From R&D in Biologics to New Medical Devices (Series E: Patient-Centered Medicine Book 4).

 

 

 

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