3D-bioprinting of new vertebrae with tissue

4 DECEMBER 2038

DELFT - EINDHOVEN - In 2039, patients with damaged vertebrae can be treated with the help of 3D bioprinting. Defective vertebrae can then be replaced by printed vertebrae with the associated functional tissue. Dutch research lies at the basis of this novelty.


Text: Emma van Laar Photo: Curve Mags and more/Shutterstock

The printing of jaws, hips, etcetera, based on measurements of the specific patient has been possible for many years, but shortly a new innovation will be added to this: the 3D printing of vertebrae with integrated tissues, specifically cultured for the individual patient. It is expected that several Dutch hospitals will provide this treatment from the end of 2039 onwards. Dynam This innovation began more than 20 years ago in 2017, with DYNAM, a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University, DSM, Brightlands Materials Center and the then still young company Xilloc, specialised in patient-specific implants. The project, funded by the Chemistry Innovation Fund, covered the development of new polymer materials and hydrogels for the 3D printing of prostheses. ‘The starting point was a search for innovative plastics that make new applications possible’, says Prof. Rintje Sijbesma from Eindhoven University of Technology, who was one of the DYNAM researchers of the first hour. ‘Back then, with the help of our materials, Xilloc had been producing individual jaw protheses directly from a CT scan for many years. We also investigated the possibilities for the 3D printing of structures containing cells, in other words, bioprinting. The research focused on solving the complexity because 3D bioprinting requires a combination of a good design, the right materials, smart software and a correct assembly of the printed materials. Adjusting one of the variables directly influences all of the others.’ ↙

The printing of jaws, hips, etcetera, based on measurements of the specific patient has been possible for many years, but shortly a new innovation will be added to this: the 3D printing of vertebrae with integrated tissues, specifically cultured for the individual patient. It is expected that several Dutch hospitals will provide this treatment from the end of 2039 onwards. Dynam This innovation began more than 20 years ago in 2017, with DYNAM, a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University, DSM, Brightlands Materials Center and the then still young company Xilloc, specialised in patient-specific implants. The project, funded by the Chemistry Innovation Fund, covered the development of new polymer materials and hydrogels for the 3D printing of prostheses. ‘The starting point was a search for innovative plastics that make new applications possible’, says Prof. Rintje Sijbesma from Eindhoven University of Technology, who was one of the DYNAM researchers of the first hour. ‘Back then, with the help of our materials, Xilloc had been producing individual jaw protheses directly from a CT scan for many years. We also investigated the possibilities for the 3D printing of structures containing cells, in other words, bioprinting. The research focused on solving the complexity because 3D bioprinting requires a combination of a good design, the right materials, smart software and a correct assembly of the printed materials. Adjusting one of the variables directly influences all of the others.’ ↙