For healthcare professionals treating trauma patients injured by explosions and burns, there can be significant clinical challenges. Patients who have had more than 60% of their body surface compromised do not have enough healthy skin remaining to be used for autologous transplant, and there are few viable alternatives to quickly cover, protect, and regenerate the burns.
The French Ministry of Defense recently announced a project led by Dr. Christophe Marquette, Research Director at CNRS, who aims to develop a novel surgical technique assisted by 3D bioprinting in order to reconstitute and graft skin and cartilage for burn victims.
Dr. Marquette and his team have invented a process for taking a patients’ own cells, expanding them, and then 3D bioprinting new tissues to be used as autologous grafts. His team takes full advantage of BioAssemblyBot’s six-axis contour printing capability to fill burn wounds based on 3D scan data.
It starts with using TSIM® (Tissue Structure Information Modeling) to create the 3D architecture of the tissue to be repaired, which can be generated from the patient’s own medical image data. The BLOC-PRINT team takes a small biopsy from the patient, and proceeds to build them a personalized bioink containing human cells, ensuring compatibility with therapeutic use.
The bioink is 3D bioprinted into a “tissue fabric” in vivo, where the cells self-organize until specific biological functions emerge. In ten days or so, the skin tissue can be fully reconstituted. This novel approach makes it possible to obtain tissues of complex shape, composition, and specific size in order to cover the large surface area of skin.
The French Ministry of Defense stated “the originality of this project is the development of a robotic arm unique in the world (BioAssemblyBot®). It adapts perfectly to the patients’ morphology as well as the topology of the burn. BLOC-PRINT was a success: unprecedented results showed that it was possible to develop an implantable bioink which could allow skin reconstruction in-vivo.”