3D Systems has provided the biggest update on its partnership with Untied Therapeutics Corporation with the demonstration of a 3D printed human lung scaffold and two additional 3D printed organ developments.
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Presented by Dr. Martine Rothblatt, United Therapeutics’ Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer and Chuck Hull, 3D Systems’ Co-Founder, Executive Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer for Regenerative Medicine at the LIFE ITSELF Conference in San Diego last week, the partners believe the scaffolds represent ‘the most complex objects ever printed.’
“The reveal at LIFE ITSELF represents the culmination of our efforts with United Therapeutics that includes not only 3D printed lungs, but two additional organs under development, kidneys and livers,” Hull said. “These lung designs can be printed in as little as three weeks using our latest advanced photopolymer-based bioprinting technology we call Print to Perfusion.”
The designs consist of 44 trillion voxels that span 4,000 kilometres of pulmonary capillaries and 200 million alveoli. Currently, the lung scaffolds are demonstrating gas exchange in animal models but the goal is to cellularise the scaffolds with a patient’s own stem cells to create transplantable human lungs that should not require immunosuppression to prevent rejection.
“Last week, it was exciting to show the public our 3D printed human lung scaffold, but we’re thrilled to share that our 3D printed lung scaffolds are now demonstrating gas exchange in animal models. We are regularly printing lung scaffolds as accurately as driving across the United States and not deviating from a course by more than the width of a human hair,” said Dr. Rothblatt. “With the continued hard work of dedicated scientists and engineers at United Therapeutics and 3D Systems, we hope to have these personalised, manufactured lungs cleared for human trials in under five years.”
Dr. Rothblatt continued, “Our goal is to create an unlimited supply of transplantable lungs in the future. Even today, we are using a process called ex-vivo lung perfusion to add to the supply of transplantable lungs by extending by several hours the period of assessment and viability for human donor lungs, resulting in over 230 lives extended to date.”
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