Bioprinted Cartilage Grafts Redefining Personalized Medicine

CELLINK’s INKREDIBLE+™ bioprinter and Advanced BioMatrix’s LifeInk® 200 type I collagen were used in a groundbreaking nasal cartilage bioprinting study recently published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering. Here, co-authors Professor Adetola Adesida, head of the eponymous lab at the University of Alberta, and fifth year PhD candidate Xiaoyi Lan discuss how they 3D bioprinted human nasal cartilage cells into grafts that remained stable after subcutaneous implantation in a murine model.

According to Dr. Adesida, about 40% of skin cancer patients develop nasal lesions. After surgical removal, it is notoriously difficult to reconstruct the affected nasal cartilage with grafts taken from the patient’s ribcage, for example. In a 2014 study, University of Basel researchers successfully engineered and implanted autologous cartilage grafts using Chondro-Gide, a semi-permeable porcine type I and III collagen membrane scaffold (Fulco, 2014). Lan, who is defending her doctoral dissertation later this year, says the clinically approved Chondro-Gide scaffold was an obvious control when designing their study, but the 3D bioprinting protocol she had in mind sought to further improve surgical outcomes.
Dr. Adesida, who is a professor of surgery and advises Lan, is confident that 3D bioprinting nasal cartilage grafts will offer a competitive advantage by significantly streamlining what happens in the operating room. “With the scaffold-engineered cartilage, surgeons are limited by the supplier’s dimensions,” he says, pointing out a significant drawback with the rectangular Chondro-Gide scaffold strips that surgeons must cut and shape in the operating room.

CELLINK’s INKREDIBLE+ 3D bioprinter enabled the anatomical shaping of constructs based on computed tomography (CT) scans. When translated to the clinical setting, this protocol could help surgeons forgo hours of carving in the operating room. Dr. Adesida, whose lab focuses on developing autologous cell-based tissue-engineering strategies, envisions reconstructive surgeons easily placing the customized graft, suturing it in place, and sending the patient on their way.  

Xiaoyi Lan, a University of Alberta PhD candidate, recently co-authored a paper on bioprinted autologous nasal cartilage grafts.

Professor Adetola Adesida, head of the Adesida Lab and Lan's advisor.

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