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Content archived on 2024-05-29


Final Report Summary - AUTOBONE (Production unit for the decentralised engineering of autologous cell-based osteoinductive bone substitutes)

The general objectives of the project were to combine the novel developments in the areas of tissue engineering based on biomaterials and three-dimensional (3D) scaffold developments and bioreactors, and thus transpose the concepts of tissue engineering and regeneration to the frontiers of new developments: the automated production of autologous bone replacement materials. The goal of this project was to develop a bioreactor that would be set up within the confines of a hospital and which would be used to homogenously activate specially designed porous matrices with stem cells from harvested bone marrow aspirates of the patient to produce autologous hybrid bone graft materials.

At the beginning of the project the activity concerned the bioreactor prototype design, trying to study the automation of the sequence for the culture medium exchange. Study of a simplified design of the fluid flow pathways, together with a possible configuration for scaffold chamber was performed. Initially small-chamber bioreactors were set up and finally a big-chamber bioreactor was developed (Millenium Biologix (MB) and University of Basel (UHBS)). Study, integration and efficiency evaluation of oxygen and pH sensors into bioreactor were performed by Presens.

The hardware and software were progressively optimised, tests with selected scaffolds (produced, characterised and optimised by various partners) cultivated with human or sheep cells performed and assessment of the osteoinductivity of bioreactor-generated constructs was carried out using nude mice model. Such activity was done by UHBS, MB and Università degli Studi di Genova (DOBIG) in strict cooperation.

The initial bioreactor and bioreactor chambers were refined and scaled up to accommodate the appropriate sizes and shapes of the scaffolds required for the large-size animal study. Handling was simplified by using similar designs and assembling techniques for both chambers. Two types of user-friendly bioreactors were designed and validated by UHBS and DOBIG for the cell cultivation of porous scaffolds and granules, to be used by Odense University Hospital (OUH)for spine fusions and to fill the gap around titanium femur implants, in sheep (large animal model).

Several communications, national and international, as well as articles in international journals were produced exploiting the results from the AUTOBONE project. Partners will continue presenting the results of the project in national, international seminars, workshops, meetings, conferences. Further publications are expected when all data of the animal study will be obtained. Generally speaking, the AUTOBONE project enabled the grouping of multidisciplinary research institutes and industrial partners, thereby strengthening the links among some of the actors of the "biomaterials community" in Europe. Different partners will use the implemented specific know-how developed during the project to increase the international collaboration network, for new programme proposals, for training activities and consulting services to industry, as well.