Scientists 3D Bioprint a hybrid tissue construct for cartilage regeneration

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine scientists (WFIRM) have developed a method to bioprint a type of cartilage that could someday help restore knee function damaged by arthritis or injury.

This cartilage, known as fibrocartilage, helps connect tendons or ligaments or bones and is primarily found in the meniscus in the knee. The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint. Degeneration of the meniscus tissue affects millions of patients and arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is one of the most common orthopedic operations performed. Besides surgery, there is a lack of available treatment options.

In this latest proof-of-concept strategy, the scientists have been able to 3D bioprint a hybrid tissue construct for cartilage regeneration by printing two specialized bioinks – hydrogels that contain the cells – together to create a new formulation that provides a cell-friendly microenvironment and structural integrity. This work is done with the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System, a 3D bioprinter that was developed by WFIRM researchers over a 14-year period. The system deposits both biodegradable, plastic-like materials to form the tissue “shape” and bioinks that contain the cells to build new tissues and organs.

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Research scientists develop groundbreaking artificial cartilage

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The new material is strong enough to work in knees

 Need some cartilage? There’s a technology for that.

Knee surgery is a frequently-performed procedure across the country. Why? Well, the knees are at work for most of your waking hours, and the same activity that keeps you physically fit can also lead to wear and tear on them. If you’ve ever needed to have work done on the joint itself, you may be aware of the difficulties of coming up with a lasting replacement: until recently, there wasn’t a replacement durable enough for the cartilage in a human knee.

That might no longer be the case, however. At Science Alert, David Nield has the news that a group of researchers, some affiliated with Duke University, have made a breakthrough in replacing cartilage. They’ve come up with a hydrogel that compares favorably to the material currently used for knee replacement surgery:

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Self-Strengthening Polymer Nanocomposite Works Best Under Pressure

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Polymer Nanocomposite

No one keeps carbon nanotubes down — especially not these guys. The always popular allotropes have been enlisted by researchers at Rice University to create a composite material that gets stronger under pressure. When combined with polydimethylsiloxane, a rubbery polymer, the tubes form a nanocomposite that exhibits self-strengthening properties also exhibited in bones. During testing, the team found the material increased in stiffness by 12 percent after 3.5 million compressions…

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