Hybrid 3D Printer
A new hybrid 3D printer produces cartilage to be implanted in patients.
Scientists have developed a hybrid printer that can print cartilage. Experts are optimistic and believe that one day the objects created by this printer can be implanted in patients.
The new invention is a mixture between a traditional inkjet printer and a special machine used for drying fibers by centrifugation. The new 3D printer produces cartilage to mechanical stability better than inkjet printer.
Other methods of creating cartilage, such as robotic systems are also under development. The key to the new invention is precisely this special machine which can generate very thin wire of a polymer solution. Polymers can be easily controlled and determined to become porous, an important feature that helps human cartilage cells to integrate into the surrounding tissue.
Researchers constructed by combining polymers cartilage cartilage cells from rabbit ears. The new cartilage were tested in mice after 8 weeks and found them to acquire the structure and properties of normal cartilage.
What can we do with a printer? Bones!
Experts from the University of Washington a 3D printer used to create a material with a structure very similar to that of the bone. Scientists say that the invention can be used for orthopedic, dental and even to treat osteoporosis.
The material is to act as a "scaffold" structure of the support, helping to grow new bone. Once the bone has grown enough artificial material will dissolve without affecting the body.
For now, the first tests are performed in rats and rabbits, but experts say they expect that in a few years, the method to be applied in humans.
Using images provided by computer tomography, researchers can create pieces of suitable size and shape for each case, depending on the existing problem to the bone.
The invention is the result of four years work involving knowledge of chemistry, materials engineering, biology and manufacturing technologies.
Experts say that the strength of the material is due to the addition of silicon and zinc, which increase two times the resistance of the base material - calcium phosphate (mineral substance are formed, for the most part, human bones).
The printer used was originally designed for printing metal objects, but scientists have modified it. Now it works with a jet which sprays an adhesive plastic in the form of a powder material over the layer of 20 microns. It is programmed by a computer and creates pieces of material as small cylinder crossed by canals, gum pencil size.
After only a week to maintain an environment where human bone cells are cultured immature mold becomes covered by a network of new bone cells.