News From The Ninth Arch

Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation (CMMRF): The BioPencil

CMMRF: Our donations are funding research that could be lifesaving for many.

The BioPencil

By James Bard, MIPGM


As we approach CMMRF month, you will read about many of research projects being funded by your donations to CMMRF. One project in particular the BioPencil, a hand-held 3-D bioprinter has the potential to be life-changing for many people with many different disorders.

The focus of research at the University of Indiana (IU) Medical School is using a hand-held BioPencil to deliver a specific naturally occurring protein, Interleuken-10 ( IL-10) found in the human body that helps to regulate the bodies inflammatory response. There has been much research lately indicating that the formation of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, is an auto-immune process. In other words, the body’s immune system attacks a specific protein found in the wall of aorta, making it weaker and leading to the formation of an aneurysm. The consensus is that surgical treatment is not warranted until the aneurysm reaches a size of 5.5 cm, leaving many patients with a” ticking time bomb”. Even if there is surgical intervention it is a major operation with many potential complications. The hand-held BioPencil offers the hope of developing a minimally invasive surgical technique to treat and stabilize the aneurysm at a much earlier stage in its development.

The research at IU is currently using animal models to see if the use of the hand-held Bio-Pencil can be used to deliver IL-10 directly to the Aorta in a hydrogel matrix. The projected outcome would be that the IL-10 would alter inflammatory response in the Aortic wall and decrease the destruction caused by that response. The additional hope is that the hydrogel would be incorporated into the wall of the aorta increasing the wall thickness and giving the aorta more structural stability.

The promise of this technology and research has so much potential for other areas of treatment. But for now it is the treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms that is the primary focus. People with abdominal aortic aneurysms have a very high mortality rate. This research offers the promise of reducing the mortality associated with this disease and providing a minimally invasive technique offering earlier treatment.

The author wishes to thank Dr. Michael Murphy for providing research that helped greatly in the preparation of this article.

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