A joint effort between researchers at Saga University in Japan and startup Cyfuse Biomedical has yielded a breakthrough in bio-printing that could make it to market in the near future.
Taking cells from a patient’s skin, researchers have been able to print arteries that can be used in dialysis treatment and coronary artery bypass surgery.
According to Cyfuse, the new technique uses an array of 10mm long by 0.1mm diameter nozzles to build layers of cells that combine to make blood vessels. To increase or decrease the thickness and size of their blood vessels, researchers can elongate and increase the density of nozzles used by their printer. To date, the Japanese team has been able to print blood vessels that are 3mm in diameter.
With a proof of concept in hand, Saga Medical School is currently evaluating procedures for testing the new bio-printing method on animals. Confident in the safety and fidelity of the new technology, Saga University predicts human therapies using bio-printed blood vessels could begin as early as 2018.
With the publication of their research, Cyfuse may be putting pressure on US research teams that are currently developing similar techniques. According to Cyfuse, patents for their new blood vessel print technique have already been granted in the US, Japan, China and Singapore, with more on the horizon. If Cyfuse can continue to refine their process and successfully navigate through regulatory trails their technology could make it to market well before similar ventures.
Regardless of who develops the first successful biomedical printing technology, the future looks bright for patients who require dialysis or tissue replacement. Moreover, greater investment in the burgeoning field of bio-printing may continue to yield incredible new technologies in the coming years.
Images and Video Courtesy of Cyfuse