Cartilage made using hybrid 3D printer

They say that the new material is more robust and hardwearing than previous efforts to create artificial cartilage. A traditional ink-jet printer combined with a specialised spinning-machine is used to make it. It could lead to bespoke cartilage created for individual patients. But one expert warned it was too early to be confident it would ever be used.
The study was published in the Institute of Physic’s journal Biofabrication. It marks the latest effort to use 3D printers in medicine following the use of a machine to make a replacement lower jaw and efforts to create 3D-printed scaffolds to support the growth of bone cells.
Scientists said they were able to build cartilage made from a chemical compound known as a polymer coated with cartilage cells from a rabbit’s ear.
They combined the ink-jet printer with a machine that uses an electric current to spin very fine fibres from the polymer solution. It allowed the construction to be easily controlled, meaning scientists could make the artificial cartilage porous. This is key to encouraging real cartilage cells to integrate into the surrounding tissue.
So far the printed cartilage has been tested on mice and, after eight weeks, appeared to have developed the properties of real cartilage, suggesting it has potential for insertion into human patients.