Arthri­tis may be eased by 3D-print car­ti­lage patches

The Daily Telegraph - - News -

Arthri­tis suf­fer­ers could be spared pain in the fu­ture af­ter sci­en­tists were able to cre­ate car­ti­lage patches for worn joints us­ing a 3D printer.

Re­searchers used cow car­ti­lage to grow cells in thin tubes. Once re­moved from the tubes, the car­ti­lage strands were used for 3D bio­print­ing. Af­ter about half an hour, the “printed” car­ti­lage patch stuck to­gether well enough to be moved to a lab­o­ra­tory dish. Even­tu­ally the strands fully at­tached and fused to­gether, the re­searchers wrote in the jour­nal Sci­en­tific Re­ports.

Car­ti­lage can­not re­pair it­self so be­ing able to print work­ing tis­sue to the ex­act shape could al­low dam­aged joints to be fixed. A trans­plant us­ing cow car­ti­lage would re­quire drugs to sup­press the im­mune sys­tem to avoid re­jec­tion, but it is hoped that the patches could be printed us­ing a pa­tient’s own car­ti­lage cells, grown from stem cells.

Dr Ibrahim Ozbo­lat, who led the study at Penn­syl­va­nia State Uni­ver­sity in the US, said: “Those who have os­teoarthri­tis in their joints suf­fer a lot. We need a new al­ter­na­tive treat­ment for this.”

Car­ti­lage is a good tis­sue for bio­print­ing be­cause it con­sists of only one cell type and con­tains no blood ves­sels, he added.

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