From printing organs to synthetic collagen: The maturation of 3D Scaffolds

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In recent months, 3D printing has been making headlines not only for its unique ability to revolutionize the manufacturing of everything from auto parts to household supplies to makeup, but, in particular, for its deep impact on regenerative medicine and medical transplant therapy.

The bioprinting of organs is, understandably, a hot topic right now. We last wrote about 3D printing little over a month ago, and even in that short time, there have been significant new developments in the field.

One of these new developments comes from the very top: Jordan Miller, Rice University professor and founder of Rice’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute, recently demonstrated to Congress, during an event sponsored by the consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge, the benefits of 3D printing. The Congressional Makers Caucus, launched earlier this year, exists to educate members of Congress about how 3D printing technologies could revolutionize healthcare.

And once-downtrodden Organovo is sharing a similar kind of positive momentum. The 3D bioprinting company, whose shares fell more than 50% this year alone, has just shared some upbeat news: its bioprinted liver tissues are being made available for pre-order, signaling the fact that customers might have them in their hands earlier than expected.

Among such major industry news are important new developments from the research community. Numerous as they are, we will single out a recent study by Jeffrey Hartgerink, a bioengineer at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative, who
just described the synthetic collagen his lab developed a few years ago as a successful clotting agent. The biomaterial, a collagen mimetic peptide named KOD, self-assembles into triple-helix nanofibers and hydrogels. By trapping red blood cells, it promotes clotting and, hence, stops bleeding. The study was published in the journal Biomacromolecules.

And finally, a good overview of the coming-of-age of nanofibers and scaffolds was written up by Dr. Barry Park and colleagues following the Nanofibres to Nancomposites Meeting held at MediCity, Nottingham on 27th February earlier this year. It’s worth a read.

Here at Akron we are excited to be contributing to the deepening well of knowledge on scaffolds for regenerative medicine. Our polymeric scaffold products, AK-Polyfibers, are ready-to-use substrates for 3D cell culture, and work in our lab is ongoing on developing novel, increasingly more complex 3D architectures for cell culture.

Don’t forget: Akron Webinar of Fibronectin
The first Akron webinar in association with Pelo Biotech, on the 3D extracellular matrix protein Fibronectin, will take place on Wednesday, May 14th at 12 noon ET (9 AM PT). Register here to receive log in instructions.

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