Mar.20, 2012

A 3D printer works like an ordinary office printer in a lab at Case Western Reserve University, it is used for making models for medical research or to help plan surgeries. Additionally engineers, biologists, surgeons and chemists are working together to manufacture human tissue with 3-D printers.

"It's a fantastic tool for engineering purposes," says Ryan Klatte, a senior research engineer in the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. "To machine a part like this, it's a week's worth of work. We can build this overnight with the printer -- I don't know if you could even estimate how much time and money it saves us."

The largest 3D printer in the Clinic's lab cost about $250,000, it runs almost continuously making medical-device prototypes, blood-vessel models and life-size casts of organs. Surgeons and physicians can upload data from high-resolution CT and MRI scans to make the models, which are printed in 6/10,000th of an inch layers. These 3D models show a more precise picture of the patient's condition than that from a standard two-dimensional scan.

The CWRU team uses a 3D printer to produce 12-millimeter scaffolds made of a brittle polymer called poly(propylene fumarate) or PPF. They then soak the scaffolds and seed them with bone-marrow stem cells and growth factors, and place them in a bioreactor to allow the cells to grow for a few weeks.

They hope the recipient's body could recognize and remodel it. Other than that, researchers are stilling working on getting the PPF scaffold to go away when it's supposed to. PPF is nontoxic and breaks down easily, but it needs to hold up long enough to provide structure, and then degrade so that it doesn't get in the way of the growing bone.

Technically all these could be possible - but there is still a long way to go before we're there. "Within the next five years, we will have the ability to make 3D-printed body parts like bone scaffolds," says Jeffrey DeGrange, VP Direct Digital Manufacturing at Stratasys. Nima Samidi, a senior analyst at research firm IBISWorld, estimate that the bioprinting of organs like livers will take off in the next 10-15 years. When the parts could be built specifically for the patient, it is possible to bypass many complications of regular transplants and save more people's lives.

Read the original article here.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:

Freedom wrote at 6/15/2013 1:38:50 AM:

When i see the combination of words "save peoples lives" and "patients".. I want to vomit and smash the hands that thunk it.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive