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Medical technology celebrates new 3D material success

Whether an artificial cornea from a 3D printer or rapid relief for skin wounds, additive manufacturing processes are increasingly successful in producing "human spare parts."

01 Jul. 2018
Medical technology celebrates new 3D material success (Photo: Liz Do, University of Toronto)

Experts attribute great potential to additive manufacturing in medical technology and the successes confirm this. For example, the skull and face implants of the Swedish company OssDsign have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, for over a year. The material of the custom-built implants from the 3D printer is a calcium phosphate composite reinforced with a titanium skeleton. The material with the honeycomb structure also promotes bone regeneration.

Scientists at Newcastle University in the UK have now succeeded in producing a cornea with a 3D bio printer. For this purpose, they mixed the stem cells of a healthy donor cornea with alginate and collagen into a kind of "biotin." Prior to that, a team at the University of Toronto had already unveiled a portable bioprinter with collagen and fibrinous ink that can be used to form new tissue and seal deep skin wounds. This procedure will make transplants of donor skin unnecessary in the future.