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Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Science, Technology |

Scientists create 3D printer capable of “printing” cartilage

A group of U.S. researchers has developed a hybrid printer capable of printing cartilage . A device that mixes inkjet technology modified electrospinning machine, combining cells with artificial structures. A printer in the future can be used as an implant in patients with lesions to help regenerate cartilage and joint areas.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, speak of a system capable of producing cartilage with a great improvement in terms of mechanical stability than those created by an inkjet printer regular. According to Dr. James Yoo, author of the study:

This work is a proof of concept and illustrates that a combination of materials and manufacturing methods generates implantable durable construction.

For Anthony Atala, coauthor of the study with Yoo:

There are 3D printing systems that print cells and gels. But the that our team has developed is unique in that it can be used both as polymeric biomaterials gels rigid and can create any three-dimensional shape.

Not only that, according to Atala, the future looks even more promising:

We can print proteins, growth factors and other liquids in the structure to help promote regeneration once implanted. While the device is still experimental, we are exploring its possibilities in organs such as the kidney and structured tissue such as the ear.

The key to success of this printer is modified electrospinning machine (or electrospinning machine). It is responsible for creating porous structures by a synthetic material, polymers, via an electric current. Therefore, the machine can produce very fine fibers of a polymer solution, which ensures that the actual cartilage cells integrate into the surrounding tissue.

The combination of inkjet printer with the machine has electrospinning first result create a cartilage, a piece of synthetic structure and biological contents.

According to the study authors, from here opens a pathway extensive possibilities. Researchers speak of a future where doctors could develop cartilage-specific patient needs. A future where organs may become designed.

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