New 3D printed dough to heal broken bones

Scientists at the University of Nottingham pioneer a new technique of 3D printing a “dough” that promises to heal fractured bones. It involves bioprinting and a thick paste, which is filled with micro-spheres that release proteins to speed up the healing process.

This technique has a big advantage that it works at ambient temperatures, i.e. no need for the application of heat (or cold), compared to usual bioprinting which relies on high heat levels, typically through the application of UV lights, or even solvents to create heat through chemical reactions.

This type of bioprinting usually requires an environment incompatible with living cells and the materials compatible with living tissue are generally incompatible with these types of processes.

According to a story released in Biofabrication, the new technique requires a temperature of just 37°C. It also said, “Further study showed that protein-releasing micro-spheres could be incorporated into the bioprinted constructs.

The release of the model protein lysozyme from bioprinted constructs was sustained for a period of 15 days and a high degree of protein activity could be measured up to day 9. This suggests that bioprinting is a viable route to the production of mechanically strong constructs for bone repair under mild conditions which allow the inclusion of viable cells and active proteins.”

This technique has a wide application and the scientists hope printing complex scaffolding made out of the “dough” for use in several different situations. In addition, as the temperature requirements are low, the cost will also be affordable.

The technique is under development and will be ready after critical trials. This technology might have an impact once it passes the most important tests. This is yet another way that 3D printing is being incorporated into advanced international medical techniques.