Researchers Develop 3D-printed Living Tissue to Treat Cartilage Loss

Published By : 03 Jul 2018 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Researchers from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands, have developed a bio-fabrication way of creating living tissues replicating cartilage tissues that can potentially be used to treat patients with arthritis. Affecting millions every year across the globe, arthritis is so common that it affects one in every ten people during their lifetime. The condition breaks down the cartilage, a connective tissue found in joints a separating bones and avoiding friction between bones at the joints.

Damage to cartilage can lead to swelling, stiffness, discomfort, and pain for people with arthritis. However, with the help of the bio-fabricated cartilage tissues, the condition can be significantly eased for millions across the globe. For the tissue, the researchers have devised a 3D printable bioink, using which the bioprinted tissue is developed. The tissue can be implanted into live joints, where the tissue will mature into a new tissue, potentially also acting as a healthy cartilage will.

However, despite the fact that stem cells have been used for 3D printing before as well, scientists have encountered difficulties making sure that proper conditions required for cellular building activities are developed. While hydrogels are good options for the same, they also do not possess effective strength to withhold their structure when subjected to the mechanical strain that some tissues are required to undergo based on the body part.

Thus the researchers are focusing on the development of hydrogels strong enough for it to be transformed effectively into the replacement cartilage. For strengthening the hydrogel, the research team is using melt electrowriting, a 3D printing material that creates fibers of the required material that are as thin as the normal strands of hair. Addition of these fibers to the hydrogel can increase the strength of the material by nearly 50 times.

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