Multiphoton Optics 2PP used to produce monolithic 1 cubic cm 3D scaffolds in record time

An incredibly successful application case in the emerging field of nano bioprinting

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Using its core technology 3D lithography via two-photon polymerization (2PP) technology, German firm Multiphoton Optics succeeded for the first time in producing a biodegradable, osteochondral 3D scaffold (3D carrier structures) of around one cubic centimeter in less than one and a half hours, in a single process step.

Thanks to the time-saving production of monolithic biphasic implants for applications in regenerative medicine, implants can be adapted to requirements in the future and produced immediately before an operation. Another great advantage of using biodegradable, tailor-made bone-cartilage implants is that, in the event of a disease-related defect, only a single surgical intervention is required on the patient, and thus contributes significantly to minimizing health care costs.

The basis for the technological implementation is a prototype of the Multiphoton Optics 3D printing platform LithoProf3D, which has been specially optimized for the production of scaffolds through further automation of process steps within the system and the control software developed by Multiphoton Optics.

Multiphoton Optics 2PP
Figure 1 – The scaffold has a height of 10 mm and a diameter of 7 mm and is divided into a 3 mm high cartilage and a 7 mm high bone phase by a separating layer.

The development takes place within the framework of the Poly-IMPLANT-Druck project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The aim of the project is the production, analysis and field tests of monolithic biphasic implants for the stimulation of the tissue regeneration of bone-cartilage defects.

The 3D scaffolds produced function both as a mechanical carrier and as a bioactive framework, which offers the cells an optimal nutrient medium for growth. The scaffold, based on a biomimetic design by iba Heiligenstadt e.V., has a height of 10 mm and a diameter of 7 mm and is divided into a 3 mm high cartilage and a 7 mm high bone phase by a separating layer (see Figure 1). The mechanical properties such as porosity and modulus of elasticity of the respective phases can be adjusted so that they come very close to the real models of bones and cartilage.

Multiphoton Optics 2PP

The prototype developed enables the (approximately). 1 cubic centimeter large scaffolds to be produced within 1.5 hours, which is an important first step towards scalability. The biodegradable material used was poly ((D, L) -lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) dimethacrylate (LCM3) developed by iba Heiligenstadt eV, which was later replaced by poly (amide-co-ε-caprolactone). Dimethacrylate (ACM) should be replaced, as the latter can be broken down more easily by the body. Cell and filling tests of the scaffolds are currently being carried out at iba Heiligenstadt e.V. and other project partners, after which an animal study is to follow over the next few years.

A further increase in the degree of automation of the system should increase the production throughput even further in the future and enable series production, also in other areas of application. In addition, individually designed 3D scaffolds open up new therapeutic approaches in the context of personalized medicine.

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