Masterflex Peristaltic Pump Helps Grow Bones Out of the Body

Masterflex peristaltic pump

Make no bones about it. A Masterflex peristaltic pump is an important tool for EpiBone, an award-winning biotech start-up business founded in 2013, that is creating personalized bone reconstruction. The breakthrough technology uses a patient’s own stem cells and a small bioreactor system to grow replacement bone tissue. EpiBone’s technique produces the new tissue in about one month.

There are great advantages to this technique. First, there’s minimal chance of rejection by the patient’s body, because the technology and process use a patient’s own cells. Second, growing new bone tissue removes the need for tissue grafts from another part of the patient’s anatomy (the current standard method for reconstruction). That removes worries of multiple surgery sites, extended hospital stays, and less pain for the patient. Lower costs, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery: all are goals everyone involved can appreciate.

Masterflex peristaltic pump part of important technique

What’s absolutely essential to this technique is EpiBone’s patented bioreactor system. Using data from a CT scan and 3D fabrication, EpiBone’s system creates a custom-designed scaffold which is then seeded with stem cells. Nutrients are pumped into the bioreactor and mechanical stimuli are applied to help the cells develop and expand in the bone tissue scaffold. Precise flow rate is critical to proper cellular development and, for that reason, the EpiBone team turned to a Masterflex L/S peristaltic pump.

The entire bioreactor system is relatively small, but maintaining constant optimal temperature is incredibly important. To maintain the temperature, the bioreactor system, including its nutrient sources and the pump delivering those nutrients to the bioreactor, must be compact enough to fit inside an incubator. That incubator maintains the critically important temperature. According to Sarindr Bhumiratana, Chief Scientific Officer at EpiBone, “We were looking at different types of pumps. For this technique, the ability to control the flow rate is extremely important, and also [having a] way to chill fluid without touching the fluid in a peristaltic pump allows you to do this.”

Another important consideration is nutrient sterility. Because in a peristaltic pump system, the nutrients only contact the tubing, the Masterflex L/S Peristaltic Pump “is ideal for us because the media have to be in sterile conditions. A Masterflex peristaltic pump can do this,” says Bhumiratana.

EpiBone was pleased with the Masterflex L/S peristaltic pump because of its adaptability to different flow rates for future needs. Bhumiratana continues, “The flow control is important. Flow rate from microliter to hundreds of ml per minute is important.” And as the company scales up their process to take on larger pieces, they need a pump that will scale with them. “Larger piece, more flow; smaller piece, less flow,” says Bhumiratana.

EpiBone Video

Watch this video from EpiBone and see the Masterflex L/S peristaltic pump in action. (Masterflex can be seen working at 3:10 to 3:17 seconds in the video.)

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