Recently, Australian researchers detailed their new medical 3D printing technique. The goal? Print bones directly into the body of patients using ceramic ink combined with living cells.
Print bones directly in the body
In the medical field, 3D printing is nothing new. One example is the very first double hand and face transplant in the world, largely made possible by 3D printing. In their report published in the journal Advanced functional materials, researchers at the University of New South Wales (Australia) have unveiled a new ceramic ink for printing bones. The main characteristic of this ink is to incorporate living cells in the structure of bones. However, these cells can multiply for several weeks after printing, with a viability of 95%.
Until today, 3D printing of bone tissue incorporated synthetic components or foreign bodies to be introduced into the body. With their innovation, Australian scientists can directly imprint bone in their patient’s body while avoiding the use of potentially harsh chemicals.
“It could be used in clinical applications where there is a high demand for in situ repair of bone defects such as those caused by trauma, cancer or when a large piece of tissue is resected ”, can we read in a statement.
The video at the end of the article explains how this new ceramic ink works. According to the project manager Kris Kilian, this innovation will make it possible to save time during operations surgical procedures while reducing patient pain. He also explains that this new technique will save a lot of lives. Remember that doctors usually use the autologous bone graft to repair damaged bones. However, this method involving the removal of bone from another part of the body is particularly invasive. It can also pose a significant risk of infection.
The ceramic ink in question is a biocompatible calcium phosphate in the form of a paste at room temperature. On contact with a gelatin bath, the ink becomes a porous nanocrystalline matrix similar to usual bone tissue. This innovation could well revolutionize medical 3D printing and allow the latter to occupy an even more important place in this field.
Here is the video posted by the University of New South Wales: