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Managing Editor  | March 2017

Swedish researchers implant 3-D printed cartilage cells in mice

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have successfully implanted and grown human cartilage cells in laboratory mice through the process of 3-D bioprinting, according to a report on the Chalmers website.



The illustration shows the formation of blood vessels, i.e., vascularisation, in the bioprinted material implanted
in an animal model. ​​(Philip Krantz)


The article explained, “The researchers printed a hydrogel of nanocellulose mixed with human-derived cartilage cells – a so called construct. They used a 3D bioprinter manufactured by Cellink, a Gothenburg-based startup firm whose bio-ink is a result of research by Paul Gatenholm. Immediately after printing, the construct was implanted in mice.”


The positive results included the growth of human tissue in an animal model, the formation of blood vessels between the materials, and the stimulation and proliferation of neocartilage formations by human stem cells.


According to an article on 3DPrint.com, Gatenholm is the co-founder of CELLINK and it was that company’s bioprinter used to create the 3-D printed construct of hydrogel and human cartilage cells.


The article noted, “Dr. Gatenholm cautions that people shouldn’t get overly excited – no one is going to be 3D printing and implanting a working heart tomorrow, or even next year. This study shows that 3D printed stem cells are capable of growing into cartilage inside the body, which is a huge success for the team and the entire field of bioprinting and tissue engineering, but it’s still a relatively small step overall.”


The research was recently published in Plastic and Restructive Surgery Global Open. Read the full report at http://journals.lww.com/prsgo/Fulltext/2017/02000/In_Vivo_Chondrogenesis_in_3D_Bioprinted

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