Joachim Kohn, PhD, FBSE

Performance evaluation of a point-of-care 3d printed bioresorbable bone regeneration scaffold

Joachim Kohn, PhD, FBSE is a national leader in the field of biomaterials science. He made seminal contributions to the design and commercialization of new biomaterials for regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and medical applications of 3D printing. Polymers invented by Dr Kohn are used in a coronary stent and an antimicrobial device to prevent infections in pacemaker patients. These implants are used by over 1 million patients. He is the founder of 3 spin-off companies. He retired from Rutgers in 2020 and was elected President of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering. He currently serves as the Chief Science Advisor and Head of OsseoPrint 3D’s Research Department.


This project aims to develop a workflow that can create 3D-printed bone scaffolds for guided surgery that are patient-matched, aseptically-produced and immediately implantable. The fundamental innovation of this project is the concept of creating a sterile clean-room within a 3D printer, instead of putting the printer into a clean room or relying on post-printer sterilization. The workflow consists of 4 steps: Obtaining a CT scan of a patient’s bone defect; transforming the image scan into a CAD model; transferring the CAD model to an aseptic 3D printer which will produce the patient-matched bone scaffold that is ready for use; and, finally, surgical implantation of the bone scaffold. The entire workflow takes place in the doctor’s office and eliminates the need to ship bone scaffolds from a centralized manufacturing site to individual doctor’s offices. Once fully developed, the time required from obtaining a patient’s CT scan to having the bone scaffold ready for implantation is about 2 hours. The actual time required to print the scaffold will be 15 – 30 min.

While conceptually easy, this workflow requires significant research ranging from image management software, to the design of the “clean-room” space within the printer, the choice of scaffold materials, the design of scaffold infill specifications and control of scaffold pore structure. Since some of these steps have already been addressed by our team, the focus of this project is on the in vivo evaluation of advanced scaffold prototypes in a clinically relevant rabbit mandibular defect model. 

The first clinical application of this technology will be by dental implantologists who will use the bone scaffolds to regenerate bone in patients who have significant mandibular or maxillary bone loss prior to the placement of a tooth implant. Subsequently, this technology may be used in general oral maxillofacial surgery and ultimately for the treatment of hard tissue defects in general orthopedic surgery. 


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