3D printing –Miracle for every field

We, at Next2future keep on looking for new initiatives been taken in the field of 3D printing. 3D printing started with prototype printing and now have gone way forward. Apart from prototype, figurines/3D selfie, home décor, 3D printing has now become the integral part of research and development. Medical field is seen to be taking most of the advantages of 3D printing.

If you shatter a bone in the future, a 3D printer and some special material (medically approved) could be your best medicine. Researchers have created what they call “hyperelastic bone” that can be manufactured on demand and works almost as well as the real thing. Though not ready to be implanted in humans, bioengineers are optimistic that the material could be a much-needed leap forward in quickly mending injuries ranging from bones wracked by cancer to broken skulls.

Surgeons currently replace shattered or missing bones with a number of things. The most common option is an autograft, where a piece of bone is taken from a patient’s own body, usually from a hip or a rib, and implanted where it’s needed elsewhere in that same patient’s skeleton.

Another bone replacement option is creating a scaffold for bone to grow on. These scaffolds, made of both natural and synthetic materials, work like the framing of a building. When inserted into the body, stem cells latch onto the structure and differentiate into cells that start to build bone Or, at least, that’s how it should work—unlike in an autograft, stem cells don’t always turn into the needed bone or cartilage because of the scaffolds’ material makeup. Researchers have gotten stem cells to grow on a ceramic material called calcium phosphate (CaP), but this scaffold is stiff and brittle, making it difficult to implant into patients. To make matters worse, the immune system occasionally sees these scaffolds as foreign and attacks them, preventing any bone growth at all. And if a scaffold is to be used to regenerate small bones, such as many of those found in the face, for example, doctors worry that it would take too much time and money to make them from CaP.

Researchers at Northwestern University, Evanston, in Illinois are working on a material to remedy all of these issues. Their hyperelastic bone is a type of scaffold made up of hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral that exists in our bones and teeth, and a biocompatible polymer called polycaprolactone, and a solvent. Hydroxyapatite provides strength and offers chemical cues to stem cells to create bone. The polycaprolactone polymer adds flexibility, and the solvent sticks the 3D-printed layers together as it evaporates during printing. The mixture is blended into an ink that is dispensed by the printer, layer by layer, into exact shapes matching the bone that needs to be replaced. The idea is, a patient would come in with a nasty broken bone—say, a shattered jaw—and instead of going through painful autograft surgeries or waiting for a custom scaffold to be manufactured, he or she could be x-rayed and a 3D-printed hyperelastic bone scaffold could be printed that same day.

This has been tested on monkeys and rats as of now and proved to be successful. Very soon, we can expect this to be working fine for humans too.

From Bones to hair follicles, 3D printing is everywhere. It’s been in news that L’Oreal is developing a technology which it hopes will cure baldness through 3D printed hair follicles capable of growing new hairs.

Kuddos to 3D printing!!!

New Courtsey :- www.sciencemag.org