3D printer create bone-like material, used in osteoporosis treatment

3D printer to create bone-like material, used in osteoporosis treatment

2:54 AM, 9th December 2011
3D printer to create bone-like material, used in osteoporosis treatment
3D printer

PULLMAN, US:  Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopedic procedures, dental work and to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis. Paired with actual bone, it acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on and ultimately dissolves with no apparent ill effects.

The authors report on successful in vitro tests in the journal Dental Materials said they’re already seeing promising results with in vivo tests on rats and rabbits. It’s possible that doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years, said Susmita Bose, professor, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect,” said Bose.

The material grows out of a four-year interdisciplinary effort involving chemistry, materials science, biology and manufacturing. A main finding of the paper is that the addition of silicon and zinc more than doubled the strength of the main material, calcium phosphate.

The researchers who include Amit Bandyopadhyay, Professor, mechanical and materials engineering and Solaiman Tarafder, research assistant, doctoral student Gary Fielding also spent a year optimizing a commercially available ProMetal 3D printer designed to make metal objects.

The printer works by having an inkjet spray a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers of 20 microns, about half the width of a human hair. Following a computer’s directions, it creates a channeled cylinder the size of a pencil eraser.

After just a week in a medium with immature human bone cells, the scaffold was supporting a network of new bone cells.

The research was funded with a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

 

© Washington State University News

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