by Carlos Mota, MERLN – Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) affect 10% of the world’s population. Temporary therapies such as dialysis and organ transplantation are deemed insufficient for ESRD patient treatment. Furthermore, due to donor organ shortage multiple patients die while waiting for a suitable organ. Alternative therapies are of outmost importance to circumvent these limitations, but suitable approached to investigate renal disease and regeneration are limited are still largely dependent on animal models. In vitro models with relevant physiologic mimicry and function are necessary for the development of alternative therapies and to unravel new treatment possibilities.
Bioprinting is a group of computer-aided techniques capable of depositing in a controlled way cell, biomaterials-inks or combinations of these (also known as bioinks) in a controlled way. These techniques have been largely used to develop in vitro models for multiple tissues and organ-like units. For renal models, the application of bioprinting techniques is still in its infancy as new biomaterials-inks and suitable cells are still under investigation.
At MERLN new approached are being developed to manufacture renal in vitro models. New biomaterial-inks have been formulated and combined with primary renal cells or induced pluripotent stem cells-derived renal progenitors with extrusion and microfluidics-based bioprinting. Furthermore optimized protocols for the formation of renal organoids have been established.
What drives you?
Curiosity and the possibility to generate new knowledge.
Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
My presentation will contemplate the fascinating complexity of the kidney and the required ingredients to manufacture in vitro models that can be used one day for the development of new therapies.
What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Bioprinting techniques are currently being used for the development of in vitro models which can be used to formulate new therapeutic strategies. In the long run, and with the new knowledge being generated these techniques might allow the production of functional organ units or organs.
What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
The currently available therapies for patients with end stage renal disease are temporary and they are far from being able to replace the kidneys functionality. The impact of bioprinting can be tremendous, but the research is still in its initial phase.
What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Ethical barriers, but many more are foreseeable.
About Carlos Mota
Dr. Carlos Mota is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Complex Tissue Regeneration, MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine, Maastricht University. In 2013, he was a postdoc at the department of Tissue Regeneration, University of Twente, the Netherlands where he developed, in partnership with Screvo B.V., a multiwell array platform for high content screening, targeting the effect of small molecules and biopharmaceutical in cancer therapeutics in vitro and in vivo.
Dr. Mota received his PhD in Biomaterials from the BIOS research doctorate school in Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Pisa, Italy, in March 2012. His doctoral studies were focused on the development of new approaches for the fabrication of polymeric scaffolds for Tissue Engineering applications. Furthermore, he was a researcher at the department of Neurosciences, University of Pisa, where he developed scaffolds for otology surgery applications.
Currently, his main research interests are focused on biofabrication, bioprinting and additive manufacturing techniques for the development of tissue engineered constructs.
The Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN) strives to maintain a leading position in the field of biomedical engineering by combining creative research with training an interdisciplinary generation of scientists. MERLN’s activities operate at the interface of biology and engineering and aim to maximise outreach at the level of public involvement, development, and the commercialisation of research. MERLN’s vision is based on sharing knowledge, infrastructure, and ambition.