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 1134 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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