New system could help develop cartilage that could help regenerate injured joints
Researchers have developed a way of printing 3D implantable cartilage that could help regenerate damaged joints.
The novel hybrid inkjet printer is at the moment just a proof of concept but Dr James Yoo, MD, of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said that the work "illustrates that a combination of materials and fabrication methods generates durable implantable constructs."
The printer is "a combination of two low-cost fabrication techniques: a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine."
By doing this the scientists were able to create a structure made from natural and synthetic materials; the result was a structure that had increased mechanical stability compared to those created when using just an ink jet printer using gel material.
Synthetic materials ensure the strength of the construct and natural gel materials provide an environment that promotes cell growth. The structures were implanted into mice for two, four and eight weeks to see how they performed in a real life system.
After eight weeks it was found that the structures had developed properties that were typical of elastic cartilage, which the researchers said demonstrated their potential for insertion into a patient.
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