Researchers have developed a new method to produce artificial cells by 3D printing them, in order to create human tissue such as ligaments and tendons, which could greatly improve a patient's recovery.
In the future, their technique could lead to 3D printing of whole organs. The University of Utah biomedical engineering assistant professor, Robby Bowles, and his team have developed this so if a person with a badly damaged ligament, tendon, or ruptured disc could simply have new replacement tissue printed and ultimately implanted in the damaged area.
"It will allow patients to receive replacement tissues without additional surgeries and without having to harvest tissue from other sites, which has its own source of problems," says Bowles, who worked with former biomedical engineering master's student, David Ede.
The 3D-printing method, which took two years to research, involves taking stem cells from the patient's own body fat and printing them on a layer of hydrogel to form a tendon or ligament which would later grow in vitro in a culture before being implanted, this tissues can then integrate into the body after a surgeon sets them.
Have a look at the video below, to learn more about the printing concept and the research that the team did.