3D bioprinting practice that produces kidney tissue could transform treatment for renal disease

Service Engineering

A team of researchers led by Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering claims that a 3D bioprinting practice that produces kidney tissue could transform treatment for renal disease.

The project, which included a member of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard’s John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has concluded in the group’s suite of bioprinting and stem cell technology being licensed to San Diego-based start-up, Trestle Biotherapeutics, which wants to commercialise it in new treatments for organ replacement and kidney disease.

“3D bioprinting practice that produces kidney tissue could transform treatment for renal disease.“

According to the researchers, over 500,000 people in the US are dependent on dialysis, with 100,000 waiting for kidney transplants. However, only 20,000 transplants are performed in the country each year, with 5,000 patients dying each year while waiting for treatment.

In addition, there are over 60 genetic diseases that indirectly or directly affect renal function beyond kidney failure, according to the team, many of which cannot be appropriately treated with current therapeutics.

Jennifer Lewis, Wyss Core Faculty member, and her collaborators created 3D kidney-on-chip models for disease modelling and drug screening. They established the core technology for rapidly producing vascularised, functional kidney tissue at scale for regeneration and repair.

A crucial milestone was a technique for developing multiplex kidney organoids, in collaboration with Ryuji Morizane (Massachusetts General Hospital and Wyss Institute) and Joseph Bonventre (Brigham).

Lewis stated: “I’m pleased that Trestle has now launched to translate this robust technology to address the growing need for kidney tissues and organs. More than a dozen members of my lab contributed to the innovations in tissue engineering that have created this technology platform. Most recently, we developed a new biomanufacturing method, known as sacrificial writing in functional tissue (SWIFT), that enables the fabrication of vascularised kidney tissues.”

CEO at Trestle Biotherapeutics, Ben Shepherd, stated: “We’re very excited to bring the biofabrication and stem cell biology technologies developed in the Lewis and Morizane labs into what we are building at Trestle. The teams at Harvard, Wyss, and the Brigham have a renowned track record in translational innovation, and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to carry their work forward for patients’ benefit.”

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