As things stand, implants are generally made from titanium, but this is a new level of treatment that could give patients a new lease of life. It could even heal life changing injuries and illnesses and could be the start of completely personalised reconstructive surgery.
Project leader Professor Iain Whitaker said: “3D printing is increasingly used to manufacture prosthetics and implants from materials like plastic or titanium. But bio-printing, using human cells instead of man-made material, is a promising new science.
“We are printing living tissues, living structures, tailored to the needs of individual patients. We hope that in the future, patients who have lost all or part of their ear or nose through trauma or cancer could have reconstruction using new tissue which is grown from their own cells using nanocellulose.
“Biomaterials are a key component of our tissue printing technology and nanocellulose is our biomaterial of choice because of its biocompatibility, mechanical and structural properties that can support cell attachment and growth in three-dimensions.”