Success Story: INKplant
Customized 3D printed implants promise a new era of regenerative medicine
Foto: Stratasys ®
With a first Open Call launched on April 1st on INKplant.eu, INKplant invites everyone to be part of ushering this era by submitting a new use case idea until 30th of June and obtaining the possibility to freely use INKplants expertise to realize the new ideas.
Implants made from biomaterials that are precisely customized to individual needs using state-of-the-art 3D printing manufacturing methods: That’s the goal of the European research project INKplant, to take regenerative medicine to a new level. The project is funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by the production research institute Profactor in Steyr.
Chronic joint damage and defects in the mouth and jaw area mean a greatly reduced quality of life for those affected. The medical implants currently used for this purpose are usually only available in standard forms made of inorganic, non-resorbable materials and require highly invasive surgical procedures and long rehabilitation times. In an aging society, this also leads to steadily increasing health care costs.
The INKplant research project is developing a new approach to take regenerative medicine to a new, more efficient level. The use of biomaterials and additive manufacturing methods will enable the production of customized implants with high biocompatibility. Results of INKplant results are expected to allow affordable personalized medical treatment and a significant improvement of patients quality of life.
With the combined use of selected biomaterials and additive manufacturing technologies, the new developed implants consisting of biocompatible and biodegradable materials will provide scaffolds presenting the ideal environment for different cell-types which degrade or resorb the implant material and remodel the construct with body’s own tissue. Therefore the implant will mimic the biological and mechanical behavior of human hard and soft tissues and can meet the requirements of the specific body part in terms of hardness, elasticity and porosity. The new implants will allow fast in-healing into the tissue which should reduce the invasiveness of surgical interventions and the risk of possible complications, shorten rehabilitation times and thus significantly reduce healthcare costs.
High-resolution industrial additive manufacturing technologies like ceramic 3D printing (LITHOZ) and inkjet-based multimaterial 3D printing (STRATASYS and PROFACTOR resp.) are being applied and further developed to produce customized implants. “The 3D printer shall receive patients data from conventional medical imaging diagnostic procedures. Software algorithms will be used to calculate the perfect geometry and optimal internal structure of the final implant,” explains deputy project coordinator Sandra Haas. An essential step is the further development of the biomaterials into ink formulations suitable for the 3D inkjet system, which allows to print high-resolution 3D structures.
In addition to the development of the manufacturing processes, the project is demonstrating the application of the new materials and methods in four use cases: defects of the meniscus and osteochondral injuries, palatal defects and in dental and oral rehabilitation.
Profactor is coordinating the project where 19 partners from industry and research, of eight different countries are working together: Profactor (AT), Stratasys (IL), Lithoz (AT), Fluidinova(PT), 3D Matrix Europe (FR), Luxinergy (AT), Elkem Silicones (FR), Tiger Coatings (AT), Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (ES), Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (AT), Kepler Universitätsklinikum GmbH (AT), Biomed Center Innovation gGmbH (DE), Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (AT), Medizinische Universität Wien (AT), Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin (DE), Transtissue Technologies GmbH (DE), Biotechnology Institute (ES), Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht (NL), Asociacion Espanola de Normalizacion (ES).
“The consortium consists of highly experienced experts in all different areas, from development and production to, characterization, certification and application of the new implants. The proactively shared knowledge present within the consortium, leads to new insights and ideas and the involvement of external experts and “Open Innovations” activities furthermore provides new perspectives and solutions for challenges occurring during research.
For more details visit the project website and the social media channels: