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The end result were square constructs with a 10cm diagonal and 0.4mm thickness

A new hybrid printer is capable of printing three-dimensional tissue for implantable cartilage.

A team of researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, led by James Yoo, M.D., created a printer that can make cartilage for patients who need it.

The printer is capable of doing this by combining an electrospinning machine and an ink jet printer. Mats of electrospun synthetic polymer were mixed layer by layer with the solution of cartilage cells from a rabbit ear. These cells were applied using the ink jet printer.

The electrospinning machine used an electrical current to create fine fibres from the polymer solution, and polymer with porous structures were made. These porous structures allow for cell growth.

The end result were square constructs with a 10cm diagonal and 0.4mm thickness. They were tested by carrying several different weights, and were also inserted into mice. After two, four and even eight weeks, the cells were still alive and encouraged cell growth in certain areas. The cartilage was flexible and elastic enough to mimic the real thing.

This type of research could one day benefit those who require new cartilage implants in areas like joints.

"This is a proof of concept study and illustrates that a combination of materials and fabrication methods generates durable implantable constructs," said Yoo. "Other methods of fabrication, such as robotic systems, are currently being developed to further improve the production of implantable tissue constructs."

Source: Science Daily





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