If you haven’t heard about 3D printing, you are in for a mind boggling surprise. Now, researchers have taken the realm of 3D printing a whole giant leap further; they have successfully tried printing cartilage. Scientists and engineers have been developing 3D printers for a while now, with companies using them to create tools, three-dimensional diagrams, or spare parts. There are a variety of inks used in 3D printing and human tissue is now being experimented with.
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The 3D printing industry is only just beginning, and it is seeing exponential growth through the two main companies that hold nearly all of the patents and profits thus far; 3D Systems Corporation, and Stratasys, Inc. These two companies are on the edge of some very exciting technological developments.
The 3D tissue printer is a mix of a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine. The printed tissue seems very promising as it was:
“tested on mice and after eight weeks it had developed the structures and properties of real cartilage, demonstrating its potential use in humans.”
In the future, researchers say clinicians could develop cartilage specific to the needs of patients. For instance, an MRI scan of the body part, such as the knee, would provide a sort of blueprint and then matching cartilage could be created. Researchers are speculating that doctors in the future will have the ability of creating tissue and printing cartilage tailored to individuals so that it will be accepted into the body quicker.
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They could use MRIs or other imaging devices to create a blue print and then head to the printer to easily print off some new tissue for their patients. Printing cartilage is just the first step in personally tailored 3D printing for medicinal purposes. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless. This technology will change the future of the world and they way that economies work. Why buy something when you can print it at home? The future looks good.
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O brave new world!
Youtube- National Geographic Known Universe S03E06 Print Tools
IOP Science- Hybrid printing of mechanically and biologically improved constructs for cartilage tissue engineering applications
The Star- Scientists develop 3D tissue printer that prints cartilage