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New study shows how babies’ lives were saved by 3D printing

Media Contact: Beata Mostafavi 734-764-2220
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Kaiba was just a newborn when he turned blue because his little lungs weren’t getting the oxygen they needed. Garrett spent the first year of his life in hospital beds tethered to a ventilator, being fed through his veins because his body was too sick to absorb food. Baby Ian’s heart stopped before he was even six months old.

Three babies all had the same life-threatening condition: a terminal form of tracheobronchomalacia, which causes the windpipe to periodically collapse and prevents normal breathing. There was no cure and life-expectancies were grim.

The three boys became the first in the world to benefit from groundbreaking 3D printed devices that helped keep their airways open, restored their breathing and saved their lives at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Researchers have closely followed their cases to see how well the bioresorable splints implanted in all three patients have worked, publishing the promising results in today’s issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Lonnie Shea Wins 2015 Clemson Award

Lonnie SheaEach year, the Society For Biomaterials solicits nominations for outstanding work in the Clemson Award categories. The history of these awards reflects the strong traditional ties between the Society For Biomatierals and Clemson University since 1974.

Lonnie Shea, The William and Valerie Hall Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2015 Clemson Award for Contributions to the Literature for his significant contributions to the literature on the science and technology of biomaterials.

“Dr. Shea has a tremendous publication record for his career stage, and he publishes important papers. Dr. Shea has been actively involved in educational and service activities at many levels, and has made major contributions to the biomaterials field through these activities,” stated colleague David Mooney.

Dr. Shea has published over 168 papers in peer-review journals, and 11 book chapters in the biomaterials and tissue engineering fields. Dr. Shea’s awards and honors include the NSF New Century Scholar, NSF Career Award, and election as a Fellow to AIMBE in 2010.

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Brittle bone disease: Drug research in mice offers hope

Contact: Gabe Cherry, 734-647-7085, gcherry@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR – New research in mice offers evidence that a drug being developed to treat osteoporosis may also be useful for treating osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease, a rare but potentially debilitating bone disorder that that is present from birth.

Previous studies have shown the drug to be effective at spurring new bone growth in mice and in humans with osteoporosis, and a University of Michigan research team believes that it may spur new growth in brittle bone disease patients as well. This would be a significant improvement over current treatments, which can only reduce the loss of existing bone.

The new drug is an antibody to a protein called sclerostin, which normally signals the body to stop producing new bone. Previous studies have shown that inhibiting sclerostin through antibody therapy is effective at increasing bone formation and strength.

The new U-M study focused on the effects of the antibody in very young and very old mice with genetic features that mimic brittle bone disease. Researchers were particularly interested in studying the effects of the drug on young mice, which are still growing new bone and have much lower levels of sclerostin.

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