Medicine related 3D printing has come a long way especially in organ production. What once sounded like science fiction has become reality, and the healthcare industry is ahead of it.
Let's talk about 3D printing of bones. In 2016, a team of researchers from Northwestern University, Illinois, 3D printed a scaffolding material. The material xombinated thehydroxyapatite (a mineral found in bone) with the polycaprolactone, a biocompatible polymer.
The final result? The creation of a 3D printed bone insert that the body has not rejected. Since then, however, I have heard little about 3D printed bones.
Today, a new step forward in the field of 3D printed bones
A team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia has designed a ceramic ink that can be 3D printed with living cells and without the dangerous chemicals often associated with this process.
Researchers even say it could allow for 3D printing of bones directly into the human body.
In contrast to previous materials, our technique offers a way to print constructs in situ that mimic the structure and chemistry of boneIman Roohani, bioengineer at the UNSW School of Chemistry e co-author of study
Currently, the most common method of bone repair is autologous bone grafting (i.e. taken from your own bones). However, these grafts have high rates of infection and simply don't work if the necessary bone material is too large.
The new 3D printing method of bones
The cornerstone of UNSW's new research was the invention of an ink that could be 3D printed in an aqueous environment that mimics the human body.
This ink takes the form of a paste when at room temperature, but once placed in a gelatin bath, it hardens into a nanocrystalline matrix similar to the structure of real bone.
The team is now attempting to 3D print large structures, and prepare animal tests to see how effective their 3D printed bone parts are.