Australian surgeons have performed a world-first surgical technique with a ground-breaking bioresorbable 3D-printed implant, which has led to the regeneration of a man’s jawbone.
John Manwaring’s jawbone was originally reconstructed using a part of bone from his leg after losing half of his jaw due to cancer. But the bone disintegrated under further cancer treatment.
The 58-year-old was out of further treatment options, until Herston Biofabrication Institute (HBI) Clinical Director Dr Michael Wagels and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) surgeon Dr Milap Rughani proposed a world-first surgical solution with a 3D-printed implant designed by bone and tissue regeneration company Osteopore (OSX.ASX).
The doctors operated on Mr Manwaring at RBWH and inserted the implant in March, 2022, with scans now confirming the 58-year-old’s jawbone is regrowing, as the bioresorbable polymer implant slowly dissolves over the next two years.
Image courtesy of: Metro North Health
Dr Wagels said the regeneration was only possible thanks to tissue taken from Mr Manwaring's knee, which was wrapped around the implant and connected to a blood supply in his neck.
“The ability to design an implant that fits perfectly into the defect and recreates perfectly the contour of the bone that was taken away is such a colossal step forward in implant technology,” said Dr Wagels.
“It reinforces the real value of personalised medicine more broadly and implants that are designed for a specific patient.”
Osteopore Chief Operating Officer Dr Jing Lim PhD said the use of Osteopore’s implant in this kind of surgical approach was not something ever tried in a patient before and enabled the bone to regenerate inside the scaffold of the implant.
“Because of the way we 3D-printed the implant, it has the propensity to enable tissue and vessels to grow into it, not just around it, but through the entire volume of the scaffold,” said Dr Lim.
“That is really down to the porous structure that we incorporated during the printing process, and the understanding of what sorts of materials would be best suited to facilitate this regeneration.”
“The biomechanics and biology of the jaw are fairly complex; therefore, the design and manufacture of this implant was not straightforward.”
“To be able to successfully achieve this in a clinical setting is definitely a milestone achievement. We are very happy for Mr Manwaring and excited for the future at the same time.”
Image: Mr Manwaring’s Jaw Implant
Mr Manwaring, from Rockhampton in central Queensland, said he had never expected to be involved in a world-first surgical approach which has changed his life.
"It surprised me that this can be done so close to home, not America, and it’s fantastic that this is available - it feels good to know that this technology can help someone else," Mr Manwaring said.
Osteopore Executive Chairman Mark Leong said Australian doctors were increasingly looking for products that work with the body’s natural regenerative capabilities.
“Replacing like with like rather than having to rely on artificial replacement parts or some bone grafts, this reduces post-surgery complication rates significantly, compared to permanent implants, ” said Mr Leong.
“We were rewarded with working with Brisbane-based Dr Michael Wagels, a world-recognised plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has conducted several world-first operations using Osteopore’s patient-specific implants.”
“We are heartened to see the huge differences this operation has made to Mr Manwaring’s life in another world’s-first using our implants.”
Osteopore is the world’s first company to successfully develop and commercialise 3D-printed bioresorbable implants for surgical use, reducing post-surgery complications compared to permanent implants.
The ASX-listed company’s implants have been used in several world-first surgeries in Australia performed by Dr Wagels, including a tibial (shin bone) defect which became the longest (36cm) segment of load bearing bone ever successfully reconstructed globally, and a calvarial (skull) defect after trauma.
Eventually, Osteopore believes their scaffold-guided technology system will be able to assist in the healing of cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
The two main benefits of Osteopore’s implants are:
- Bioresorbable – in 18-24 months they disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water with no foreign material left in the body, leaving strong and healthy bone, significantly minimising infection rates, pain and reducing the need for further surgery.
- Regenerative – bone implants successfully enable new bone to form within the scaffold, with only negligible 0.01% complications post-surgery.
The Herston Biofabrication Institute is part of the Queensland government’s Metro North Health service.
Osteopore Limited (OSX.AX) is an Australian and Singapore based medical technology company commercialising a range of bespoke products specifically engineered to facilitate bone healing across multiple therapeutic areas. Osteopore's patented technology fabricates specific micro-structured scaffolds for bone regeneration through 3D printing and bioresorbable material. Osteopore's patent-protected scaffolds are made from proprietary polymer formulations that naturally dissolve over time to leave only natural, healthy bone tissue, significantly reducing post-surgery complications commonly associated with permanent bone implants. Osteopore’s 3D printer technology is not available in the market and unique to the company.
Company Name: Osteopore
Contact Person: Natasha Zaman
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