Researchers at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society announced earlier this year that another medical material can now be produced with 3-D printing: cartilage.
The researchers’ first step in producing the cartilage was developing a “bioink”—the material from which a 3-D printer crafts a personalized, printed tissue. The researchers mixed human chondrocytes, the cells that build up human cartilage, with a plethora of other live cells to create the ink. Once printed, the ink-turned-tissue of live cells held its shape and successfully produced cartilage in Petri dishes and lab mice.
To advance the cartilage technology to humans, more preclinical work will have to be completed under the eye of plastic surgeons. However, the researchers are optimistic the early successes of cartilage printing promises new technologies for patients who have lost cartilage due to injury or overuse, as well as further advancements in 3-D–printed human skin.
Photo by Corita Cazares on Flickr.