Vascularized Bone Biofabrication
A damaged piece of bone cannot always heal naturally or be replaced by a patient’s own bone transplantation. In such cases, it can be an option to make use of in-vitro grown tissue, but only up to a certain size. Beyond that, the artificial bone pieces used can no longer be supplied with blood and therefore the cells in the centre of such a graft will die within days. For this reason, the Vascularized Bone Biofabrication Group cultivates artificial bone tissue that is already permeated by blood vessels. When inserted into the body, the blood begins to circulate quickly enough for it to stay alive and heal efficiently.
In order to develop this treatment, the Vascularized Bone Biofabrication Group focuses on two separate research areas: Vascularized Bone Tissue Engineering and Imaging and Magnetic Nanoparticles for Bone Regeneration and Vascular Imaging. Main challenges are to identify the perfect conditions and methods to grow pre-vascularized bone tissue, to develop imaging technologies to monitor bone and vascular growth outside and inside the graft, and to explore the possibilities of nanoparticles as regeneration agents and instructive cues.
The Vascularized Bone Biofabrication Group is part of the Tissue Engineering Laboratory of Ivan Martin. It is located at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the University Hospital Basel, thus establishing a link for translation of engineering research into clinical applications. The research involves the development of perfusion bioreactor-based models and the generation of pre-vascularized tissue grafts and devitalized engineered tissue matrices for therapeutic purposes, primarily in the context of bone regeneration. The group has raised more than 1 million CHF in the last 5 years (Industry, SNF, HORIZON 2020, INTERREG) and works in collaboration with other research groups (e.g. Martin Ehrbar, University of Zurich, Switzerland or Delphine Felder-Flesch, Strasbourg, France).