A new company has emerged that aims for the goal of bio-printing kidney tissue (and possibly kidney organs) for implantation. Trestle Biotherapeutics, a private company based in San Diego, has entered into a licensing agreement with Harvard University. Under the agreement, Trestle will commercialize a suite of stem cell-based and 3D biofabrication-based regenerative medicine technologies developed by Professor Jennifer Lewis Lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The core technology licensed to Trestle was developed by a multidisciplinary research team in the laboratories of Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D. and Ryuji Morizane, MD, Ph.D. Lewis, whom we had the honor of meeting in person during our 2017 Harvard visit, is a Wyss Core faculty member, leads the organ engineering initiative 3D of the Wyss Institute, is the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard SEAS and is a Director Faculty Member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Morizane is a Principal Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, Affiliate Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Visiting Scholar at the Wyss Institute. Drs. Lewis and Morizane are both members of Trestle’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Trestle develops functional kidney tissue to supplement and replace lost kidney function in patients with kidney failure. Trestle is developing these novel tissue therapies through the integration of stem cell biology and 3D biofabrication technologies. In 2021, there are more than 100,000 patients waiting for kidney transplants and more than 550,000 patients who depend on dialysis for their survival.
Organovo, also based in California, was one of the first companies to attempt kidney tissue development through bioprinting, but the technology proved too immature at the time. Much has happened since then and Jennifer Lewis’ lab has conducted some of the most advanced research in bio-printed implantable tissue and vascularity. Among other successes, the Lewis Lab has created a multi-material bioprinting platform that enables the fabrication of 3D tissues composed of multiple cell types, modified extracellular matrices, and vasculature. These vascularized tissues are currently being developed for fundamental studies related to drug screening, disease modeling, and tissue repair and regeneration.
“Patients with kidney failure have had the same two standard treatment options for over 60 years. We are truly excited to embark on the ambitious mission to change that and build on the work of Lewis and Morizane Laboratories to make this a reality for these patients,” said Ben Shepherd, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Trestle. .
The technology to be commercialized by Trestle not only enables the rapid manufacture of large-scale vascularized kidney tissue for regenerative medicine solutions, but also paves the way for increased tissue maturation and vascular development in cell-derived organoids. strains in response to fluid flow. They are essential components in building large, functional tissues that will one day be used to supplement or even replace kidney function in patients with kidney failure.
“Trestle was founded with the belief that recreating patterns and processes found in nature is essential to building functional tissues. The next era of cell therapies and regenerative medicine, especially to treat diseases resulting from complex organs such as the kidney, will rely on the integration of multiple evolving disciplines. Developmental biology, stem cell biology and 3D biofabrication are essential elements of this approach. We look forward to integrating the innovative work of Drs. Lewis and Morizane in the platform we are building,” said Alice Chen, Ph.D., co-founder and CSO Trestle.