Polish scientists printed the world's first bionic pancreas with vessels

Original author: Zbigniew Wojtasiński
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Gland Cells
The world's first bionic pancreas with blood vessels was printed by Polish scientists from the Foundation for Research and Science Development, a unique work was led by Dr. Michal Wshola . In April, scientists plan to implant the petals and islets of the pancreas in mice to test their function in a living organism. Pig experiments are scheduled for October 2019.
“No one has ever grown a parenchymal organ with complete vascularization ,” said transplant surgeon Dr. Michal Vshola. Previously, he developed a new method for minimally invasive treatment of complicated diabetes using endoscopic transplantation of pancreatic islets under the gastric mucosa. His new project, the bionic pancreas, will also be able to treat diabetes in the future.

The printed pancreas consists exclusively of pancreatic islets; she has no exocrine function . Researchers believe that she will be able to restore the production of insulin in the body of a patient with diabetes. Currently, this is only possible by administering the hormone using an insulin dispenser or pump.

Michal Vshola, surgeon, transplant expert
“The human pancreas produces pancreatic juice , which helps us digest food. She also carries about a million pancreatic islets, small protrusions consisting of alpha and beta cells that produce insulin and glucagon . Pancreatic islets are damaged in people with diabetes, they do not have cells that produce insulin and glucagon. Only pancreatic juice is produced. Therefore, they use insulin injections. We decided to grow an organ that will produce insulin and glucagon using alpha and beta cells, ”Dr. Vshola told PAP in an interview.
Polish scientists took islet cells from animals and mixed them with bio - ink - a substance that allows cells to survive. The bioprinter began to place them in the bioreactor in accordance with the previously developed three-dimensional scheme. At the same time, using a second syringe, the researchers printed blood vessels through which blood would flow in the organ.

“After printing our pancreas, we did not see how natural it looked, we were not at all interested in it. We confirmed that we were able to print an organ 1–1.5 cm thick, and that this organ has a dense vasculature so that all islet cells of the pancreas are well provided with glucose and oxygen, ”says Dr. Vshola.

Polish engineers needed to create the right bio-ink, because none of the existing inks was suitable for this experiment. Another difficulty was to ensure that the liquid in the syringe, in the cartridge — after printing and exposure to physical and chemical factors — becomes dense and forms layers, and also retains its structure.

“A mathematical study allowed us to evaluate how functional this organ will be after the activation of blood flow. How blood will behave in this organ, depending on various values ​​of its pressure and hematocrit - the number of red blood cells in the blood. " Some vessels had to be lengthened, others had to be shortened, ”says Dr. Vshola.

Scientists at work
In April, pancreatic petals with islets will be tested on mice. These tests will end in June. In October 2019, a large fragment of the pancreas several centimeters in size with vessels will be tested on pigs. “We need to check how the organ will function in a living organism, how microcirculation will form in it and how its structure will change,” says Dr. Vshola.
According to the doctor, no one has done this before. “In other experiments, biodegradable scaffolds are populated by cells and then implanted into humans. This can be used only for certain types of tissue, such as cartilage, bones, trachea or bladder, but not for the liver, pancreas, kidneys or lungs, because these are parenchymal organs that need a vasculature. Vascularization was a big problem, ”he says.

“On March 14, during a charity auction of scientific papers, we will present the results of our work on the bionic pancreas and hope to establish contacts with the business with a view to further development,” says Dr. Vshola. He explains that it was this bionic pancreas that was printed from pig cells: “But this is not important, for we consider it as an example.”

The bionic pancreas 3D printing project, implemented by the Foundation for Research and Science Development , is co-funded by the National Center for Research and Development through the STRATEGMED III program. Consortium members include Nencki Institute , Warsaw University of Technology , Medical University of Warsaw , Infant Jesus Hospital and MediSpace . The goal of the project is to grow custom pancreas from the patient’s stem cells, which would eliminate the immune response. Cellink

initiators and founders, a pioneer of 3D bioprinting, is interested in research by the Polish consortium. Eric Gatenholm and Hector Martinez will visit the Foundation’s laboratory and take part in a charity auction aimed at raising funds for research.

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