3D cell printer tipped to be ‘game changer’ in preventing osteoarthritis

Australian surgeons hope to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis in patients by using 3D technology to print live cells to repair damage to bones, muscles, tendons and tissue in organs.

The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery based at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne has developed the Biopen, a 3D printer pen filled with stem cell “ink” which has successfully been tested on sheep to repair knee injuries.

Orthopaedic surgeon Claudia Di Bella from St Vincent’s Hospital said the treatment involved stem cells being taken from the patient before surgery and put inside the pen in special ink cartridges.

“[The pen] prints that in a material which is called hydrogel that allows your cells not just to survive but also increase in numbers and then make certain types of tissues, and in our case cartilage,” she said.

“The goal would be to try and repair certain injuries like cartilage injuries that at the moment are impossible to repair completely.”

The idea is to treat young people, including athletes, early to slow down or prevent the onset of osteoarthritis, which is a huge cost to the health system.

In the sheep trials, the technology had no complications and was easy to use, Dr Di Bella said.

By Victoria | ABC News (AU)

Image Credit: St Vincent’s Hospital

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About Peter Coffaro 703 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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