The U.S. Department of Defense [DOD] has approved a grant of $2 million to the University of Arizona [UA] to advance the development of their technology combining 3D printing and stem cell grafting to create a better alternative to conventional bone replacement. Current standard of care for shattered bones involves using cadaver bones and support rods to replace bones entirely. However, these treatments are often ephemeral since the cadaver bone is dead and becomes increasingly fragile over time. The technique being developed by UA utilizes advanced 3D printing to create a scaffold that mimics the structure of bone and then seeds it with the patient’s own stem cells, along with calcium, to grow a bone that will be sturdier. Since the technique will use the patient’s own stem cells, it virtually eliminates the possibility of rejection.
Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic [a member of StemSave’s Scientific Advisory Council] and her colleagues at Columbia University have created living jaw bone from stem cells paving the way for regenerative therapies in facial reconstruction. Using a CT scan to create a 3D image of each jaw, the team created a scaffold that, when infused with stem cells, formed new bone identical to the original.