From benchtop to bedside:

3D Bioprinting Cartilage to Develop Treatments for Knee Injuries


Translating stem cell research into actionable therapies to improve life quality

Personalized medicine has been on the forefront of many researchers’ minds. An elusive target to develop therapies that treat each patient for exactly their ailments that many spend their time and energy on. Stina Simonsson, a professor and researcher out of Gothenburg University leads a team focused on such work. The group has developed an in-depth understanding of stem cells, and how these wonderous building blocks can be reprogrammed to create life changing therapies.

Developing treatments for knee injuries

As it stands today, one out of four Swedes over the age of 45 suffer from some degree of osteoarthritis. Dr. Simonsson and her group began their research to develop a solution for this widespread problem by developing mini-knees in test tubes, culturing iPSC’s and having them differentiate into cartilage cells. These mini-knees helped pave the way to understand disease mechanisms and what causes the cartilage to decay.

Hear what Stina Simonsson has to say

Bioprinting personalized iPS cell-laden implants for a perfect fit

Armed with an understanding of what causes stem cells to differentiate into cartilage, Dr. Simonsson and her team unlocked a new degree of personalization by taking patient scans and using the BIO X to develop patient specific constructs. These iPSC laden constructs were printed using a combination Nanocellulose and alginate similar to CELLINK’s bioink. Optimizing the bioink allowed for a high degree of fidelity for the print, but more importantly, safety during the printing process, which in turn ensured high cell viability and high probability of differentiation. This process entailed a robust construct with ECM proteins like Collagen Type II and GAGS being developed in abundance. This bioprinted cartilage when compared to in vivo cartilage was indiscernible, even by trained surgical eyes.

Taking on demand cartilage from basic research to clinical therapies

Having successfully demonstrated that on demand cartilage can be bioprinted, the team now turns their eyes to translating this research into clinical therapies. To do so, the team is faced with a number of challenges. One such challenge is finding a suitable material that possesses the same rheological properties as their bioink but has a structure even closer to humans and also enables a simpler path through the regulatory obstacles that must be navigated as research is turned into treatments.

Dr. Stina Simonsson at Gothenburg University
“CELLINK technology and bioinks has helped me tremendously in my research and I wouldn’t have gotten so far in my research without their support,” says Stina Simonsson.

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3D Bioprinted Models for Cochlear Implant Evaluation

Dr. Ulises A. Aregueta Robles and his team, as well as many others, see some key drawbacks with the use of animal models: intra-animal differences, long study periods, and a difficulty with extrapolating the results to human tissue responses. To overcome these issues within testing neuromodulation devices, and provide an alternative to animal testing, the team has set out to develop in vitro human tissue models. Here, they have created a model of human scala tympani, which can be used for testing cochlear implants.

Bioprinting biofilms with GelMA

“What if our existing tests and methodologies for studying bacteria are fundamentally flawed?” Inspired by this question, the team from Karolinska Institutet set out to develop an AST that focuses specifically on biofilms and is widely applicable regardless of the bacteria type. To accomplish this, they had to first gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricate process of biofilm formation.

Making a Difference in Patient Care with 4D Bioprinting

Dr. Kaushik Chatterjee is a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, specializing in Materials and Biomedical Engineering. With a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University, his research focuses on biomaterials, tissue engineering, 3D printing. Recognized with awards like the Young Scientist Award and the Ramanjuan Fellowship, Dr. Chatterjee’s work aims to revolutionize regenerative medicine.

Developing Hydrogels for Bioprinting Astrocytes

Dr. Anna Herland at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Dr. Daniel Aili from Linköping University recognized the need to enable researchers to develop more biomemitic models of sophisticated brain-like structures such as the brain-blood-barrier (BBB) and the central nervous system. They also recognized the importance of mimicking the extracellular matrix (ECM) environment to develop accurate 3D models of the BBB. To achieve this, culturing astrocytes in 3D was a critical step.