When you first learn about 3D printing, it seems like magic, but when you begin to understand the science and mechanics of it, the concept becomes a lot more logical (although the things that can be created with it continue to astonish). One particular form of 3D printing, however, will never cease to seem like sorcery to me, and that’s bioprinting. I understand how it works, but there’s that part of my brain that still continues to insist that this just shouldn’t be possible.
That disbelief is renewed every time I learn about a new process or material entering the bioprinting sphere – and at the rate the technology is advancing, that’s usually at least a couple times a week. The latest organization to develop a new magic potion – I mean, bioink – is the University of Bristol, which introduced its dual-polymer material to the public this week in a paper published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.
The paper, entitled “3D Bioprinting Using a Templated Porous Bioink,” presents the bioink as a material that could potentially lead to the 3D printing of complex tissues for bone and cartilage implants. Like several of the most promising bioprinting materials, the ink would use the patient’s own stem cells to generate the tissue, which could then be used for knee and hip surgeries.