Research and development of 3D printed tissue to repair damaged joints

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Research and development of 3D printed tissue to repair damaged joints


Biological scientists are developing 3D printed tissues to help treat bone and cartilage damaged in sports injuries in the knees, ankles and elbows. Scientists at Rice University and the University of Maryland have designed a scaffold that can replicate the physical characteristics of osteochondral tissue, which is basically a hard bone under a compressible layer of cartilage, with a smooth surface at the end of the long bone.

Research and development of 3D printed tissue to repair damaged joints

These bone injuries, from small cracks to broken fragments, are painful and often hinder an athlete's career. Osteochondrial damage can also cause arthritis and disability.

The gradient nature of cartilage into bone and its porosity make it difficult to reproduce in the laboratory, but Rice University bioengineer and graduate student Sean Bittner used 3D printing technology to create a Implant materials that provide suitable materials.

"Athletes are particularly affected by these injuries, but they may affect everyone," said Bittner, who is also a researcher at the National Science Foundation and the lead author of the paper, which was published in Acta BioMaterialia) on. "I think this will be a powerful tool to help people with common sports injuries."

The key is to mimic the tissue gradually shifting from the cartilage on the surface (cartilage tissue) to the bone (bone) below. The researchers printed a custom polymer blend scaffold for the former, and a ceramic blend embedded in the pores for the latter, which allows the patient’s own cells and blood vessels to penetrate the implant, eventually turning it into natural bone and cartilage. a part of.

"In most cases, the composition of the 3D printed stent is the same for the patient and the patient," Bittner said. "Both contain porosity, so blood vessels can grow from native bone. We don't have to make blood vessels ourselves."

In the future, the project will include how to print an osteochondral implant to make it completely suitable for the patient and allow the porous implant to grow and bond with bone and cartilage.

Other collaborators are from Rice University, the University of Maryland, and Wake Forest School of Medicine. The National Institutes of Health and the Regenerative Medicine Development Organization supported this research.

Link to this article: Research and development of 3D printed tissue to repair damaged joints

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