The older we get, the less resilient our knees become. The knee is one of the most vulnerable parts if you are an active person or an athlete.
For simple pain, taking supplement with collagen and glucosamine sulphate content is enough to reduce the pain. But if the pain is critical, then surgery needs to be done, and of course, it costs us a lot of money.
But the latest news tells us that researchers have created a hybrid bio-ink that can be used to build and replace damaged cartilages on your knees with 3D printing!
A study released through the journal Chemistry of Materials tells of a new method using 3D bioprinting to create artificial cartilage that can react like natural cartilage. This research team uses Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOPS), used in previous research to print complex tissues such as bone, muscle, and even ear.
To replace this knee cartilage, researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) mixed several types of bio-ink to print the entire layer of fibrocartilage tissue from one layer to the next layer, in an interspersed cross pattern.
The two bio-inks used are:
- Gum gellan composite and fibrinogen ink: Encourages body cells to re-adjust in your knees.
- Silk fibroin methacrylate: Helps maintain a strong and flexible structure.
In laboratory studies using animal cells, researchers found that the cells could grow and reproduce while the cartilage structure remained biomechanically strong. Subsequent experiments involving the 3D print on laboratory mice and 10-week observations showed that the rat began to regenerate its fibrocartilage as expected.
The research team said more research needs to be done to study the human body's response to the implant, whether it can restore joint function, and of course, if it is suitable for the long term to humans.