- A team of researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina has devised a way to 3D print human-scale bone, muscle and cartilage that survives when transplanted into animals, Reuters reported.
- The tissues, implanted in mice and rats, showed normal growth and function at five months.
- Being able to bioprint reliable human tissues could further the field of personalized medicine by allowing surgeons to bioengineer body parts from the patient’s own tissues.
Using clinical imaging data and an integrated tissue-organ printer, the researchers were able to create skull and jawbone, ear cartilage and muscle.
All of the 3D-printed tissues showed normal blood vessel growth and integration with surrounding tissue. For example, the circulation in the cartilage was confined to the outer areas, similar to human cartilage. Moreover, the bioprinted muscle contracted like real muscle.
Historically, bioprinting large tissues has been difficult because of their high nutrition needs. To overcome this, the researchers created microchannels in the tissue models to facilitate diffusion of nutrients to the printed cells.
“Future development of the ITOP is being directed to the production of tissues for human applications and to the building of more complex tissues and solid organs,” the researchers said.