Swedish scientists from Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology successfully implanted 3D printed human cartilage cells in to baby mice.
This is a major breakthrough for the quest to print 3D body parts. They created a gel composed of human cartilage cells and printed it using a CELLINK 3D bioprinter and implanted it in the mice.
The tissue began to grow with blood vessels growing inside the implanted material. After two months the material began to closely resemble human cartilage. This was further stimulated with the addition of stem cells.
The team worked with local surgeons to implant the material into mice. Professor Paul Gatenholm says that currently there is no great solution for missing ears, they usually use plastic and silicone implants and then screw it with titanium screws.
This research could potentially one day help in building artificial parts, starting with skin, cartilage and then the bone. Someday we might be able build complex human organs with technology.
Currently they use 3D printers to dispense cells to discrete locations. Computer Aided Design coupled with 3D printing can be helpful in building designs for anatomical pieces than plastic surgery modeling.
This process a ways from becoming a reality, including the regulatory process that comes with this kind of work. The teams work is a promising step which could one day extend beyond cartilage to other key human tissue.