3D bioprinting holds the key to the future organ replacement. One of the recent developments involving this technology is the restoration of joint cartilage. Researchers from the Technische Universitat Munchen are currently investigating a novel 3D printing method that uses a combination of hydrogels and microfiber scaffolding. The result is a structured product that closely resembles a natural joint cartilage.
To create the structure, the researchers used a new additive manufacturing technique called the melt electrospinning writing. With this procedure, a material dubbed as the “collector” moves at a given speed while melted materials are deposited by layer before they cool off and create the foundation for the other layers. This leads to the creation of a 3D structure that is conducive for cell growth. Moreover, the structure also allows natural healing and promotes the growth of new tissues.
One of the proponents of the research Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher noted that the process of electrospinning writing imitates the natural way of building cartilage which contributes to the success of the entire procedure. This new procedure is also very promising not only for joint repair but also for breast reconstruction and heart tissue engineering. The researchers are also studying different methods in incorporating this procedure to produce other types of organs.
3D bioprinting provides a lot of potential to the field of medicine. The development of this procedure can benefit soft tissue engineering and it will not be long when doctors will be able to print other soft tissues for people who are in need of transplants.