In research published this week in The Lancet, the researchers demonstrate that the technology--a joint-shaped scaffold infused with a growth factor protein--works in rabbits. About a month after the implant, the animals began using their injured forelimbs again, and at two months the animals moved almost as well as similarly aged healthy rabbits. The study is the first to show that an entire joint can be repaired while being used.[...]
In the study, the researchers first imaged the damaged forelimb joint and then created a three-dimensional picture of it, explains Mao, a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University Medical Center. They used a bioprinter to "print out" a precisely accurate, three-dimensional copy of the joint, but criss-crossed it with tiny interconnecting microchannels to serve as a scaffold for new bone and cartilage growth. The surgical implantation was the same used to insert titanium implants in people, Mao says.
The top three images on the left show the process working, and the bottom picture shows natural cartilage.
Link via DVICE | Photo: Jeremy Mao