Ceramic Ink May Let Bones Be 3D Printed Into Patients’ Body

The term 3D bioprinting refers to the use of 3D printing technology to make biomedical parts that can be used to make replacement organs or other body parts as needed. While we are not at this point yet, there have been some great strides toward that dream over the past few decades.

Now research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia has shown promising advancement in one of the most difficult areas of 3D bioprinting: 3D printed bones.

They have developed a special ceramic ink that can be printed with living cells and without hazardous chemicals at room temperature. The ultimate goal is to be able to 3D print bone directly into a patient’s cavity for scenarios where a specific part of the bone has been removed or destroyed.

“This is the first of its kind techniques that can create a construct that closely mimics the physical and biological properties of natural bone,” said Kristopher Kilian, associate professor in the University of New South Wales School of Materials Science and Engineering , versus digital trends. “This opens up a multitude of possibilities [including] Repair of large bone defects [in which] The body cannot repair itself automatically if such defects can lead to loss of the limb. We can also use the technology to create bone models for scientists to study bone physiology [and] Pathology or drug screening to discover new drugs. “

So far, the team has optimized the printing process, the ink, and the bath by creating the bone-like structures from living cells. As IEEE Spectrum reported, they have previously printed small bone structures. The next step is to conduct small animal experiments to see if this can be used to heal large wounds.

With that in mind, we hope to identify partners we can work with to obtain regulatory approval for the material, “said Kilian. “The technology enables us to continue manufacturing patient-specific synthetic grafts in the laboratory that contain all the necessary biological entities from native bone. In the long term, we hope to translate ink and printer directly into operating rooms for bone reconstruction during surgery. “

An article describing the work was recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

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