Readily3D Bioprinting Pancreas to Help EU-Funded Program Develop Diabetes Treatment
As the World Health Organization reports, the prevalence of diabetes has been rising over the last few decades, and there are currently around 422 million people around the world who have the disease, which causes 1.6 million deaths annually. Improving the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes could majorly benefit public health. That’s just what Readily3D, a spin-off company from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, is trying to do. The company has developed its bioprinted mini pancreas, created through a novel system that can supposedly print biological tissue in only 30 seconds.
The pancreas, located behind the stomach, produces the necessary bicarbonates and enzymes we need to digest our food, but it also secretes several hormones, such as insulin, which regulates our blood sugar. A diseased pancreas can no longer produce insulin, which can lead to diabetes—a chronic disease characterized by high levels of blood sugar, which can result in serious damage to many parts of the body, including the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. In fact, according to The International Diabetes Federation’s 2019 IDF Diabetes Atlas and the European Diabetes Study Center (CeeD), diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults and majorly increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
Readily3D’s tomographic illumination technology, created at EPFL’s Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices (LAPD) and further developed by Readily3D, uses a biological gel that contains a patient’s stem cells within, and a laser applied to this gel solidifies the material through a polymerization process. The team says it can control the location, and the intensity, of the laser beam so only the required areas of the gel are solidified to form the tissue. Additionally, Readily3D’s bioprinting technology is said to be fast, contamination-free, easy to use, and cell-friendly, meaning the cells spend very little time outside of an incubator.
Bioprinting is proving to be a transformative technology in the additive manufacturing and medical fields, and its success is based on plenty of hard work and research over the last twenty or so years. Bioprinted tissue, in particular, is extremely beneficial, as it negates the need for animal testing, and because it’s created from a patient’s own stem cells, can be custom-made for a person.
Readily3D’s innovative bioprinting technology is currently being used to develop a reliable, living pancreas model for diabetes drug testing applications in a large-scale project called Enlight, which received €3.6 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework to develop the first living model of the pancreas within the next three years.
A cross-disciplinary consortium, led by UMC Utrecht, is carrying out the ambitious Enlight project, with help from fellow participants EPFL, Readily3D, and ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, AstraZeneca in Sweden, Rousselot in Belgium, and the Giannino Bassetti Foundation in Italy.
While EPFL and Readily3D are currently focusing on the pancreas, their bioprinting technology could be used in the future to fabricate different kinds of tissue, which could be used to make transplant organs or even come up with cancer treatments.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
June 10, 2021 at 07:33AM