Project Description

Bone is a biological tissue with a robust capacity to heal and regenerate. Indeed, most bone fractures will, when appropriately treated, heal without any complication. However, there are still numbers of cases when the current surgical techniques together with bone are insufficient. Examples of such impaired bone regeneration are large trauma with infections (e.g. road accidents) and bone metabolic disorders including avascular necrosis (AVN) [1, 2].

accident_intro_RapidosIn March 2010, the UN GA proclaimed the period 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Road traffic injuries kill nearly 1.3 million people annually. If current trends continue, road crashes are predicted to rise from 9th leading cause of death to 5th by 2030. ~50 million sustain non-fatal injuries (important cause of disability worldwide). Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people, aged between 15 and 29.

Therefore, the global increase of needs for bone graft substitutes and emergence of large healthcare providers in Asia support the necessities for better bone repair solutions based on biomaterial scaffolds.


Among pertinent non-healing bone fractures, the region of the head is a major target for development of precise custom-made bone constructs. In cranio-maxillofacial surgery, large blow-out orbital floor fractures have still mitigated outcomes and improved scaffold solutions are needed [3].

Biomaterials and bone tissue engineering have failed until now in keeping their promises of reliable bone repair [4]. The technical issues for the engineering of scaffold for bone tissue engineering therapies are: (i) fabrication of biomaterial scaffolds for anatomical fit of complex three-dimensional bone fracture, (ii) fabrication of biomaterials with adequate mechanical and structural stability/degradation kinetics and (iii) fabrication of biomaterials with optimised macro-architecture for improved mass transport and perfusion for delivery of biological effectors such as Chinese Medicine extract, Icaritin, which has shown to promote osteogenic differentiation of stem cells and enhance bone healing in vivo [5-7].

The goal of this European and Chinese consortium is to apply RP technologies to create custom-made tissue engineered biomaterial constructs by integrating 1) imaging and information technologies, 2) biomaterials and stereolithography (SLA) process engineering, and 3) biological and biomedical engineering for novel and truly translational bone repair solutions [8].



[1] Darouichi RO. Treatment of infections associated with surgical implants. 350 ed. 2004. p 1422-9.

[2] Steinberg ME. Core decompression of the femoral head for avascular necrosis: indications and results. Can J Surg 1995;38 Suppl 1:S18-S24.

[3] Giannoudis PV, Dinopoulos H, Tsiridis E. Bone substitutes: an update. Injury 2005;36 Suppl 3:S20-S27.

[4] Hollister SJ, Murphy WL. Scaffold translation: barriers between concept and clinic. Tissue Eng Part B Rev 2011;17(6):459-74.

[5] Huang J, Yuan L, Wang X, Zhang TL, Wang K. Icaritin and its glycosides enhance osteoblastic, but suppress osteoclastic, differentiation and activity in vitro. Life Sci 2007;81(10):832-40.

[6] Wang XL, et al. Exogenous phytoestrogenic molecule icaritin incorporated into a porous scaffold for enhancing bone defect repair. J Orthop Res 2012 [Epub].

[7] Yuan H, et al. Osteoinductive ceramics as a synthetic alternative to autologous bone grafting. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010;107(31):13614-9.

[8] Sun W, Darling A, Starly B, Nam J. Computer-aided tissue engineering: overview, scope and challenges. Biotechnol Appl Biochem 2004;39(Pt 1):29-47.