Cartilage is an essential body structure that has the consistency of plastic and amazing properties like being able to bear weight, but yet be much more flexible than bone. Unlike bone, it does not contain any blood vessel or nerves, which makes it a prime target for artificial replacements.
A team at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has developed a way to print a cartilage replacement, using a 3D printer. We have previously reported on heart growth, printed human tissue, or even printed prosthetic teeth, but this particular technique creates a polymer porous structure on which the body can grow natural cartilage.
At the moment, the test subjects were mice, but according to the researchers the technique works and it has potential for use in patients.