The National Science Foundation recently awarded the early stage 3D bioprinting company TeVido BioDevices, a company working to create natural human grafts to be used in reconstructive procedures, with a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Grant, to support the development of their novel breast reconstruction program, which is now in its preclinical stage. The company expects to use the grants to fund preclinical in vitro and in vivo research, as well as for further regulatory applications regarding human clinical trials in patients being submitted to breast reconstruction post-mastectomy.
TeVido’s solution is a response to the consequences to post-mastectomies, since patients who lose their nipple and areola often experience psychological distress. Their Cellatier bioprinting technology creates custom grafts for reconstructive procedures through the use of 3D bioprinting. The company expects the technology to be able to also address the unmet need of not only filling lumpectomy voids, but also breast contouring.
“The SBIR grant program plays a vital role in assisting companies like ours to innovate the next frontier in reconstruction options for survivors aimed at improving their long term healing and quality of life,” said the CEO and Co-founder of TeVido, Laura Bosworth. “We are encouraged by the strides that are being made in early detection, and very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with NSF to achieve our vision of providing new hope to breast cancer survivors around the world.”
The company conducted research with the purpose of creating grafts for “nipple-areola complex,” in which there is little opportunity of reconstruction for breast cancer survivors. Previous research already demonstrated the challenges faced by patients who lose their nipple and areola, even after breast reconstruction, as well that the full reconstruction of the nipple and aerola contributes to patients’ satisfaction and acceptance of their bodies post-operation.
“The NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) supports some of the most promising US start-up companies,” said Jesus Soriano, SBIR/STTR Program Director for Biomedical and Smart Health Technologies. “Companies like TeVido are vetted by NSF’s rigorous merit review process, which seeks early-stage companies developing transformational technologies with high potential for significant societal and commercial impact. For decades, NSF SBIR companies have been helping to stimulate the U.S. economy and to improve lives.”
The new technology may be able to help the almost 300,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and decide to submit to mastectomies or full removal of their breast tissue. Almost a third of the patients who are treated with a mastectomy also have reconstructive procedures. However, the therapy does not end before the nipple areola complex and the reconstruction of all breast, which can be unpredictable.
“We appreciate the continued NSF support of our mission to transform reconstructive options for survivors. Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s pink movement has been instrumental in driving early detection of breast cancer which has saved perhaps millions of lives,” Bosworth added.