3D printing creates exciting opportunities for replacement body parts

3D printing creates exciting opportunities for replacement body parts

October 2013

Additive manufacturing technologies inspire bio-scientists to utilize similar methods for biological and medical applications.

Shay Yulzary, one of 42 Technology’s printing specialists, participated in a recent 3D bio-printing seminar held in Cambridge, together with scientists and researchers from all over the world, discussing the opportunities and challenges in this exciting area.

The event, organised by univerCELLmarket, brought together research leaders from different disciplines to review the current state of 3D Bio-printing and explore opportunities for British industry.

Using 3D printing to produce patient specific bone graft is one possible application – bone particles from the patient themself could be used to form the raw material for the graft, which in turn is 3D printed using a CAD file of the desired shape. Localized growth factors can then be printed directly onto the graft to enhance tissue compatibility.

Challenges such as raw material production, controlling the porosity of the graft, and achieving the required accuracy and strength are only some of the many challenges that still await technical solutions to enable this technology. With hundreds of thousands of bone restoration operations in the UK every year, this technology could be a huge step forward in orthopaedic medicine.

Our track record in medical devices development, together with our growing capability within the printing sector, puts us in a great position to get involved in this extraordinary field in its early days of research and development and we look forward to progressing this interesting area of development.

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