3-D Printed Patient-Specific Conduits for Complex Peripheral Nerve Injury

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 14-3008-1


Researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University have developed a method to produce patient-specific biometic nerve conduit for complex nerve injury regenerations, including but not limiting to peripheral and central nervous system regenerations using 3D imaging and 3D printing techniques.

Nerve regenerations such as peripheral nerve regeneration is an important field, as damage to peripheral nerves results to over 200,000 annual nerve repair procedures in the U.S. alone. A nerve guidance channel (NGC) is one of the technologies for guiding peripheral nerve regrowth to facilitate nerve regeneration and is an attractive clinical treatment alternative to autografts for nerve injuries. However, conventional NGCs are linear and not customizable to complex nerve injuries, such as the ability to simultaneously guide sensory and motor nerve reinnervation.

This invention is a patient-specific complex nerve conduit regeneration technology fabricated via a combination of 3D scanning, 3D design, and 3D printing techniques. Briefly, 3D imaging on the missing or damaged section of the nerve pathway is used to generate anatomically accurate 3D models of nerve injuries, which are then processed and optimized in a computational environment, and finally the 3D models are used to precisely fabricate patient-specific 3D NGCs via 3D printing. The conduit-based device can also contain biochemical cues (BCs) with high spatial resolution in both uniform and gradient distributions embedded via the same one-pot 3D printing process.



•       Complex peripheral nerve injury treatment

•       Point-of-care

•       Guide sensory and motor pathways

•       Patient-specific treatment



•       Precise nerve injury assessment

•       Personalized NGC design

•       Customization and functionalization

•       Novel gradient BC distributions




B. N. Johnson, K. Z. Lancaster, G. Zhen, J. He, M. K. Gupta, Y. L. Kong, E. A. Engel, K. D. Krick, A. Ju, F. Meng, L. W. Enquist, X. Jia, M. C. McAlpine. "3D Printed Anatomical Nerve Regeneration Pathways." Adv. Funct. Mater. (2015).




Michael C. McAlpine is the Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota (2015-Present). Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University (2008-2015). He received a B.S. in Chemistry with honors from Brown University (2000) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University (2006). His research is focused on 3D printed bionic nanomaterials, which is the three-dimensional interweaving of biological and electronic nanomaterials using 3D printing. He has received a number of awards, most prominently an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a TR35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DuPont Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award, a Graduate Student Mentoring Award, and an invitation to the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering.


Intellectual Property & Development status

Princeton has an issued patent around this technology and is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.  




Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

• (609) 258-6762• cw20@princeton.edu



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Michael McAlpine
Blake Johnson
Hai-Quan Mao
Ahmet Hoke
3D Printing
regenerative medicine