Scientists 3-D Print Cartilage Using "Ink" Made of Human Cells

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 - 5:46PM
Weird Science
Medical Tech
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 - 5:46PM
Scientists 3-D Print Cartilage Using "Ink" Made of Human Cells
Could 3-D printing be the answer to repairing injuries to the ears, knees, and noses? Scientists have devised a method for 3-D bioprinting an ink made of human cells in order to produce patient-specific cartilage.



In order to achieve this feat, researchers from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center in Sweden made an "ink" for a 3-D printer made of human cells. And to prevent the cells from devolving into an amorphous goo, they added scaffolding in the form of polysaccharides, derived from brown algae, as well as minute cellulose fibrils and human chondrocytes (cartilage-producing cells). The scaffolding gave the "ink" the ability to form and keep a shape, which allowed the research team to make tissue that, when implanted into mice, grew into cartilage. 

Opening quote
"Three-dimensional bioprinting is a disruptive technology and is expected to revolutionize tissue engineering and regenerative medicine," study leader Paul Gatenholm said in a statement. "Our team's interest is in working with plastic surgeons to create cartilage to repair damage from injuries or cancer. We work with the ear and the nose, which are parts of the body that surgeons today have a hard time repairing. But hopefully, they'll one day be able to fix them with a 3-D printer and a bioink made out of a patient's own cells."
Closing quote

The team admits that they still have a ways to go before human trials, let alone before implementing them clinically. But once the results are replicated and the process is tested, this technology could yield custom-made implants for people with damaged ears, knees, and other cartilage-heavy body parts, and demonstrates the vast potential of 3-D printing in medical technology. 

Via Futurism

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