A team of researchers from Wake Forest University has developed a bioprinting tool that can 3D print synthetic tissue for bone, cartilage, and muscles. The synthetic tissue is made of biodegradable polymer and living cells. The research team used nozzles just a fraction of an inch wide to dab the mold into shape, while the 3D printer simultaneously creates an outer mold which dissolves once the tissue has hardened. A tissue lattice is left behind that is structurally sound but also contains tiny channels through which oxygen can reach the living cells. Additionally, researchers plan to take CT scans of patients’ bodies before printing to ensure properly fitted prosthesis.
The Wake Forest University team has been able to print an ear and part of a human jawbone. They were also able to successfully implant bone and muscle in rats and cartilage in mice, which had the positive result of the synthetic material integrating with the animals own tissue in a matter of weeks. The team is now working on using larger tissue samples and utilizing different types of cells so that the technology could be used on humans in the near future.
(Source: Popular Science )