3D printers are becoming increasingly common in medicine, serving for the production of prostheses bones or bodies of models to facilitate the conduct of operations. Soon, however, such devices will be used during the treatment and one of the first models of such equipment is BioPen.
BioPen to small 3D printer (basically it is a pen) developed by a team of scientists from the Australian St. Vincent hospital . The device using hydrogel and stem cells can be used directly during surgery, allowing the patient to reconstruct the cartilage with very high precision.
The device can be applied to the bone, muscle and nerve cells special ink consisting of stem cells. You only need to apply a substance on the joints of the patient, and then cure it with UV light. Special bacterial cultures obtained from seaweed, promote cell growth developing in the new environment, while the second polymer is cured with UV light, it provides a protective coating during the healing process.
The secret of the device is the use of special “bioatrament”. It consists of a stem placed within the biopolymer, which may be an alginate, namely an extract of seaweed, which further is still in the hydrogel layer. Layer this “ink” is placed directly on the affected bone and hardened with a beam of UV rays from the BioPen built-in camera. Cells proliferate within the body of the patient and differentiate, depending on the performance of its future function, muscle cells, nerve and bone.
This method can revolutionize primarily surgical repair cartilage. So far, this was one of the most difficult treatments because doctors could not determine the proper shape before surgery cartilage, which was not possible prior preparation of the implant to the patient. With BioPen you will be able to simply fill gaps in the tissue and in the course of one treatment.
The designers claim that was obtained 97-percent survival of cells used, which makes it carried out with the help of her prints, will serve the patient for years. The printing process cells and tissues is very different from traditional methods. Also it takes incomparably longer. Individual cells are connected in tissue at the time is not counted in hours, but in days. The next step is to enrich the development of the printing material of various kinds of medicines to help treatment, so that regeneration of defects will proceed much faster.
We are delighted with this 3D printer (or a pen, you can even call it a printer?). The benefits that this technology offers the people are very much needed. We hope that soon thanks to 3D printers, various cavities of the human body will be repaired in one simple operation.