The regenerative medicine project nAngioDerm has received a European grant of €747,000 ($822,000) to provide a solution for dermal regeneration, by helping patients whose wounds from ulcers or major burns fail to heal. The funding will go to five European institutions and companies collaborating on the project, which is coordinated by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, in Spain, and partnered by Microlight3D, the University of Ioannina, Greece; the Hospital Universitario Vall d’Hebrón (HUVH), Spain, and the Universitè Grenoble Alpes, France.According to studies, skin diseases continue to be the fourth leading cause of nonfatal disease burden world-wide.
Each year, more than 305 million acute, traumatic and burn wounds are recorded and treated globally. Wound care is associated with significant costs and has become a major challenge to healthcare systems worldwide, in the United States, Medicare spends at least $32 billion and maybe as much as $96.8 billion annually on wound treatment. While a UK study on the health outcomes, resource implications and associated costs attributable to managing wounds in the 2012/2013 period estimated the annual cost to the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) in managing wounds to be over £4.5 billion ($5.5 billion).To better deal with this global problem, the partners will develop a new process and new products involving ion-release bio-materials which will promote angiogenesis for dermal regeneration. This demands skilled competencies in tissue engineering, bio-active ions, and cell-scaffold 3D-printing.
Microlight3D, a specialty manufacturer of high-resolution micro-scale 2D and 3D printing systems for industrial and scientific applications and the only non-academic partner of the project, plans to develop a 3D printer and processes dedicated to the cell-scaffold application, a structure used in tissue engineering that provides support, enabling living tissue to regenerate itself and facilitate healing. Microlight3D’s selection was based on its unique ability to develop 3D-printers that can print into biomaterials with sub-cell resolution and precision.
“Microlight3D is very proud to be a partner in nAngioDerm, its first European research consortium,” said Denis Barbier, CEO of Microlight3D. “Collaborating with such high-level academic organizations on such a key health issue is further recognition of the value of our 3D microprinting technology for regenerative medicine applications. This project is a great opportunity to help further develop our micro-scale 3D printing systems for use in future health applications.”
Microlight3D was founded in 2016 on the basis of 15-year 3D printing research by Patrice Baldeck and Michel Bouriau at the Université Grenoble Alpes. The process would be the first-ever non-additive two-photon polymerization direct laser writing technology, allowing a laser to move freely in three dimensions, performing uninterrupted printing inside a polymer resist. The company later went on to introduce a new 3D printing system for high-resolution, microscale parts, the Altraspin.
The Institute for Bioenginnering of Catalonia (IBEC) will be responsible for bringing its research capacity in bio-active ions and bioengineering to the nAngioDerm project and coordinating the contributions of the other partners starting this month, and working on the project which will run for the next three years.
Elisabeth Engel, associate professor and principal investigator of the group of Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies at IBEC, will lead the nAngioDerm project, along with partners Barbier, Joan Perre Barret, head of the Department of Plastic and Burned Surgery at HUVH in Barcelona, and Olivier Stéphane from the Universitè Grenoble Alpes.
The nAngioDerm initiative falls within the scope of EuroNanoMed3 (2016-2021), which supports multidisciplinary and translational research and innovation projects covering regenerative medicine, diagnostics, and targeted delivery systems, under the European Horizon 2020 program, which is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme to date with nearly €80 billion of funding available over a seven-year period ending in 2020. Working to promote European innovative research and technological development projects in nanomedicine, EuroNanoMed3 is funding 12 successful consortia with a total €9 million for three years, and a total of 57 research groups from 13 participating countries.
The comprehensive nAngioDerm project will equip researchers with a transferable and multidisciplinary skill set to enable them to adapt quickly to the challenging needs of the Medtech sector and to afford them rapid ascent to key leadership positions in the field. In the long-term, the technologies developed will be implemented in other clinical areas, resulting in increased European-based knowledge, innovation, competitiveness and leadership in the field.