The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning announced on August 31 that a Korea Polytechnic University research team led by professor Yoon Won-soo developed a 3D bioprinting system for producing medical products by the use of biomaterials and developed a preparation for medical use for tissue regeneration that can be dissolved in the human body.
Earlier in March this year, the research team developed a biodegradable mesh for facial bone surgeries and obtained an approval from the Ministry of Food & Drug Safety (MFDS). At present, patients with damage to facial bones have to go through the extraction of other bones from their own bodies and transplantation following cutting of the bones for shaping. However, 3D printing allows perfectly-shaped prostheses to be produced and inserted without bones having to be cut. In addition, the average surgical operation time can be shortened to two hours or less from eight hours or so.
The research team developed the preparation by using the FDA-approved biodegradable medical polymer material of polycaprolactone (PCL). This material dissolves and disappears by itself a couple of years after transplantation and, as such, has a lower risk of side effects than many other transplants remaining in the body for a long period of time to cause inflammation. The preparation was put on the market in the first half of this year by T&R Biofab, a company founded by the professor.
The 3D bioprinting system that Korea Polytechnic University developed at this time in cooperation with Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) and the Seoul St. Mary's Hospital is characterized by being capable of using various types of biomaterials in an integrated way unlike similar systems developed in the United States and so on. The research team developed a product in which PCL is combined with tricalcium phosphate (TCP) for bone regeneration with this system and applied for an MFDS approval. This system is expandable in the form of a cell printing system that produces different human body tissues and organs by outputting bioink containing living cells and is expected to be able to take the place of organ donation in the long term.