New Research of Muscle Regeneration Using 3D Printer

  • Portable printer design allows direct delivery.
  • Muscle regeneration aid with special gel.
  • Previously, John Hopkins University invented gel to aid in ligament regeneration.

New technology allows a person to gain muscle using 3D printer technologies. The new technology has been created by US and German scientists. The skeletal muscles are one of the hardest to restore after any illness, accident or surgery. This is a great opportunity in the field of reconstructive surgery. The 3D printing technology provides a myriad of opportunities.

The technology includes placing a specific material directly into the injured area after a muscle loss. The product mimics muscles, including even fibrous microstructure, and speeds up the procession of tissue regeneration.

Scientists created a portable printer which allows the specialist to place fibrillar scaffolds that mimic the muscle fibers and support cell and tissue growth directly in the damaged area. A portable printer is filled with the biocompatible gelatin based hydrogel. The result is scaffolding that mimics muscle fibers. Hence, the cells in the tissue surrounding the muscle fill the matrix and multiply forming new muscle tissue.

It is important to note that this method does not require complex pre-processing of images (usually doctors create a model of the implant and the place that requires “repair”). In addition, it is not necessary to apply stitches to the patient, as in a normal operation.

Using biogel for regeneration is not new. Jennifer Elisseeff, Ph.D. Director of the Cell and Tissue Engineering Program at Johns Hopkins University is the inventor of the novel biogel and adhesive that influences cartilage production. The specific type of scaffold here is called a hydrogel. Her invention was presented in 2013. The trials were done in Canada and the US. The hydrogel environment provides a better mimic of the soft environment that is present when a tissue initially develops in a fetus.

The two application methods of the  Dr Elisseeff invented biogel:

  1. A gel made up of special molecules that polymerize or form chains when exposed to light, causing the gel to harden, forming a scaffold.
  2.  A biological adhesive that could bond to both her gel and to specific proteins found on the surface of cartilage tissue. Not only does the adhesive help secure the hydrogel in place, but the type of material used (chondroitin sulfate) also promotes tissue growth at the interface of the hydrogel and tissue.

Nevertheless, using 3D printing technology for the biogel delivery is new. It provides additional opportunities and could be a great aid right before the physiotherapy phase of recovery. The portability of the 3D printer will allow larger reach of the market.

Overall, the new technology allows new advances in the field of Bioengineering. Treatment methods will continue to improve.  Muscle regeneration has a wide application and demand.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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