Bioengineering technology to repair and regenerate human bones are right around the corner. Researchers at Northwestern University have created a biomaterial called hyperelastic bone. The hyperelastic bone is made of a mineral called hydroxyapatite, a form of calcium, mixed with polymers and a solvent. The resulting 3D printed bones and grafts are flexible, porous, and absorbent.
The Verge reported that scientists have tested allowing the bone to regenerate in a variety of scenarios. Researchers have experimented placing human stem cells into scaffolds of the hyperelastic bone, where cells grew and filled the spaces. The absorbent and porous nature of the bone allows blood vessels to grow and support cell viability. In rats, new blood vessels grew in the 3D printed scaffolds implanted in their spinal vertebrae. It only took 8 weeks for growth to begin. The material was successful in a monkey’s skull as well, where the implant also encouraged blood vessel and new bone growth.
This material still needs to be tested in humans and if successful, offers new opportunities for many areas of medical research.
The hyperelastic bone material is synthetic and can be mixed and printed at room temperature. The scaffolds can be quickly printed in a matter of hours, making customization easier than ever.
Via: Science Magazine
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