Luiz E. Bertassoni, DDS, PhD

3D Printing of Nano-Mineralized and Pre-Vascularized Scaffolds for Vertical Bone Augmentation

Dr. Luiz E. Bertassoni is an Associate Professor at Oregon Health & Science University. Luiz’s recent work on bioprinting for vascularization of tissue engineering constructs has received extensive attention in the popular media and was recently selected as one of the top 100 science stories of 2014 (#64) by Discover Magazine. Luiz has published over 70 publications, including several papers in high-impact journals such as Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, and others. Luiz is a recipient of over 20 national and international research awards and has received over $10 Million in research funding. Luiz currently serves as an ad-hoc reviewer, editorial board member, or editor for over 60 journals. 
It is estimated that 1 in 2 adults in the US is affected by one form of bone-related diseases and injuries. A wide range of conditions affecting craniofacial region require bone augmentation. The clinical demand for bone replacement materials (autografts, allografts, xenografts) is high. These materials have major limitations including the high–cost of hospitalization, multiple surgical procedures for bone harvesting and subsequent implantation, donor-site morbidity, and limited graft availability. Therefore, synthetic bone scaffolds have been developed as a viable alternative treatment. However, only about 30% of patients treated with current bone replacement materials regain function without the need for a second procedure, which indicates high failure rates. The leading cause of failure is the lack of vascularization which is the most basic requirement for cell survival in the body. In fact, the engineering of vascularized tissues has long been considered the greatest hurdle preventing the translation of tissue engineering into clinical practice. We have recently developed 3D printing-based strategies that represented an important step towards achieving controllable engineering of tissue vasculature on the lab bench. While these strategies have had important and widespread implications, many challenges still exist to regenerate vascularized bone with short-term clinical translational possibilities. This project will directly address a significant challenge in vascularized tissue regeneration by systematically determining the conditions required to vascularize mineralized cell-laden bone scaffolds using our recently developed dual 3D printing technique, mesenchymal stem cells, and endothelial cells. We contend that the strength and breadth of our preliminary data on the engineering of functional vascularized tissues and biomineralization, strongly support the potential impact of the proposed project and the translational implications of this study are imminent.


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