Sunday, February 7, 2016

3D-printed Bone Structure Allows for Tissue Regeneration

In society today, advances in technology have allowed for 3D printing of tissue regeneration and can even help deteriorating bone regain healthy tissue. In the "Printing for the Future" Conference in London, "researchers studied how the growth of crystals at sub-zero temperatures could be used together with 3D-printing techniques to structure a material "that mimics existing human structures.

There are three points that I would like to emphasize in this article. First, I'd like to point out that the synthetic tissue "can be made to match the individual's exact size and shape requirements, based on medical imaging data." I find this to be important because the 3D printers are able to handle and duplicate the exact replica of the complexity of human tissue and their exact structure. Meaning that it will not be a generic, copy of the fibers that make up human tissue, but an identical copy of one's exact tissue. It makes you think about the big picture of printing and just how far printers have come- to the point where printing necessities of the human body is now a reality. 

Another point I would like to emphasize is that "porosity would normally weaken a material, but the current technology is able to overcome that." I found this to significant information because the researchers have figured out a way to create a porous structure that is almost identical to the living tissue in our body and technology is able to accept it and keep it strong when normally this would weaken. 

And finally, the 3rd important point is that the 3D printed tissue can affect the bone and "will make them stronger and may help people to recover more quickly after a major illness or injury". It amazes me that 3D printed material can help a human recover more quickly than any actions that the body would take itself. These 3D printed tissues help facilitate and stimulate growth of more tissue and will fuel regeneration. 

The article did a good job explaining the role of 3D printed tissues however I think it is important to understand the point about freezing combined with printing. I think it is important to note that the freezing helps to obtain the fine micro-structural features that are essential to the regeneration of new tissue. It is this combination of freezing with 3D printing that makes this technology so powerful and gives the ability to replicate the organs. Another thing the article may have overlooked is that "the scaffold consists of the same minerals that feature in natural bone". Since the same minerals found in human bone are being used in the printing of the tissue they are able to be compatible with our bodies and "can dissolve as the patient recovers and new tissues replace it". And finally, it is important to note that tissue is not only small- it has already been used "to make part of a sternum that surgeons successfully implanted into a cancer patient." 

1 comment:

  1. I find your write up to be very intriguing. 3D printing seems to be a progression into a future where any idea can be built. It amazes me that these printing abilities can be applied to human tissues. There are many people today who wait around for months, even years, waiting for an organ transplant. The ability to create human issue with 3D printing will save thousands of lives of those who never make it off the donor waiting list. 3D printed tissues also seem to be a more successful and effective way of transplanting. Since a printed tissue is 100% your own genetic code there is a lower chance your body rejects the material. It appears that the 3D printing of human organs will help prolong the lives of thousands. The potential of 3D printing appears to be limitless.


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