Hong Kong University Medical Team Receives National Funding for Research and Development of 3D Printed Human Organs

The leadership team of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology to study three-dimensional (3D) space printing of human tissues and organs. The goal is to print full-thickness skin, cornea, bone, cartilage, and major blood vessels within five years. Kind of human tissues and organs for pre-clinical testing.

The long-term goal of the team is to develop other organs, including kidney units, liver lobules, myocardial bulbs, urinary tubes, intervertebral discs, bladder, ovaries, and other 12 types of tissues and organs for precise shaping for transplantation applications.
The research team is led by Professor Lu Weijia and Professor Yang Weiguo of the Wu Zhenmin Foundation (Orthopaedic Bioengineering) of the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, and is funded by RMB 27.44 million. It is the first national-level project to directly cross the river and cross the border to fund the scientific research of the Hong Kong team. Appropriation.
The research project is called “Technology and Reconstruction of In Vitro Precision Manufacturing of Functional Tissues and Organs”. It was established in 2019 and is currently the only national key research and development project funded by Hong Kong and Macau. Together with the supporting funds provided by local governments and universities, the total amount of the project will reach more than 36 million yuan.

The research team has a cutting-edge scientific research foundation in the field and is in a leading position in the world. They will cooperate with domestic medical, research institutions and enterprises such as Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianjin University, Suzhou Nuopu Regenerative Medicine Co., Ltd., Peking University Jishuitan Hospital, and Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc., in 3D Printing Cooperate in equipment manufacturing, human tissue and organ printing technology, biosafety and effectiveness evaluation, preclinical trials and other aspects, and rely on the Hong Kong University Shenzhen Hospital to establish a biological 3D printing center.

The 3D space printing technology of human tissues and organs is a focus of global strategic development research. It provides effective responses to population aging, as well as the failure and loss of functions of human tissues or organs caused by diseases or accidents, in addition to transplantation of human tissues and organs. The solution to the problem. The development of biomaterials in recent years has provided an important way for the regeneration and functional reconstruction of tissues and organs. However, the structure of human tissues and organs is highly complex. How to use biomaterials to accurately print out functionally complete organs that can operate in the human body is the current biological 3D Printing finally realizes the challenge of clinical application. The microenvironment required by tissues and organs should be printed out to cooperate with functional reconstruction, including functional cell arrangement, with the distribution of blood vessels and nerves, etc., to guide the reconstruction and repair of 3D printed tissues and organs in the body.
In the early years, the research team, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Tianjin University jointly published the idea of ​​inducing regeneration microenvironment through biological factors, developed a bio-ink system, and established a systematic and complete evaluation system for bone and articular cartilage defect repair. The early exploration of manufacturing tissues and organs laid the foundation for the development of research on the manufacture of a variety of complex tissues and organs in vitro.

The team will use the OPUS-Pro 3D bioprinting platform independently developed by Knopp Regenerative Medicine, which is expected to be the first to realize the integrated printing of full-thickness skin, cartilage and a variety of cell tissues. The OPUS-Pro 3D bioprinting platform is a high-end medical-grade bioprinting platform with seven print heads. It is an internationally advanced level. It can simultaneously print various fine structures in formed organs, including fine three-dimensional structures with Vascular tissue. A microenvironment similar to the extracellular matrix is ​​constructed, combined with a variety of cell-loaded bio-inks, a functional active tissue precision printing software system, and a multi-process micro-nano-level integrated printing base combined with clinical practicality, etc., to accurately print Applied organ tissue.

The team’s earlier research on large-scale bone defect repair has successfully achieved 6 cm bone defect regeneration in goat model animal experiments. The next step is to use a multi-nozzle bioprinter, combined with the new multi-axis dynamic printing technology, to configure a suitable blood vessel and nerve line network for the bone material scaffold, and it is expected that this new 3D bioprinting scaffold can achieve rapid regeneration in the body.

Professor Lu Weijia said: “Bio 3D printing technology can bring hope to the future of tissue and organ regenerative medicine. For human tissues and organs with very complex structures, it must be controlled by artificial intelligence, high precision, and coordinated by multiple nozzles. Diversified printing technology can be better realized. I also hope that this topic can contribute to the general health of mankind.”

Professor Yang Weiguo said: “The Hong Kong University Faculty of Medicine team includes clinical professors and scientists in different fields, leading the pre-clinical trial team, providing the entire team with clinical ideas for tissue regeneration in the body, laying the guiding ideology for the next phase of human trials. Hong Kong has The international leading medical technology and clinical trial management system. The team expects that relevant clinical trials can be conducted locally, and this advanced medical research results will first benefit local patients. As the project funds are not enough to cope with clinical trials, we expect the government or universities You can refer to other local government funding methods to support the team.”

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