Diabetes sufferers to profit from new 3D bio-printing

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Shanghai [China]March 30 (ANI): Bone defects are a serious problem for people with diabetes after fractures, but a new technique that includes 3D bioprinting a “scaffold” for bone repair offers a first-time opportunity to overcome such bone defects .

For the first time, scientists believe they have developed an effective way to treat bone defects in diabetic patients. The results were first reported online and then published in the journal Bioactive Materials in March.

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University have developed a technique to create bioprinted 3D bone repair scaffolds that are infused with bone marrow stem cells, bone morphogenic protein-4, and macrophages.

“We tried several variations of the proportions in the recipe and found one where we saw some really impressive new bone formation in our test mice,” said Jinwu Wang, director of the Medical Device Registration Innovation Center and Clinical Transformation Service Center in Shanghai Jiao Tong University and corresponding author of the study.

Diabetes can increase the risk of fractures in some patients by 20 to 300 percent. In addition, under the high-glucose conditions common to the disease, bone regeneration is significantly impaired, resulting in a high rate of bone defects.

Attempts have been made to use conventional 3D printing to fabricate skeletal structures in order to expedite the repair of bone defects. The technology enables the printing of frameworks with precisely controlled shape and structure. In diabetic patients, the area around the body surrounding the bone defect can become inflamed due to the disease, resulting in an abnormal ratio between two types of macrophages that play a key role in controlling the inflammatory process. This leads to inflammatory damage to the body that cannot be repaired by the body itself. In turn, the inflammation can also cut off blood vessels or prevent new ones from developing.

3D bioprinting uses “bio-inks” to provide living cells that promote bone growth. This should allow better control of the distribution and deposition of osteoblasts, especially if they are accompanied by some white blood cells, which are necessary to restore the normal relationship between the two types.

Unfortunately, these bio-inks must have good “printability”, good mechanical stability after printing, and good biocompatibility (the ability to support cell growth) to be successful. And those who have been tested so far can only do one or two of the three.

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s orthopedic implant laboratory have developed a recipe to meet the requirement. They load the bio-inks with mesenchymal bone marrow stem cells, morphogenetic bone proteins-4 (BMP-4) and macrophages to save dysregulated inflammation. To extend the amount of time bone formation can take place, they added a drug delivery system to the prescription: mesoporous silica nanoparticles – inorganic nanoparticles that have been used to deliver drugs.

In the follow-up research, the researchers want to design and print a biological scaffold with an improved pore structure in order to enable an even better blood flow to the scaffold, which should promote the regulation of the immune system and better promote the development of bones and blood vessels. With these additional effects, the technique will accelerate bone repair even further. (ANI)