Tissue Printing has a Role in Femur Fracture Repair

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September 19, 2019
Edward Smith

Tissue Printing has a Role in Femur Fracture Repair

For years, researchers have been exploring the potential of 3D printing in science, engineering, and healthcare. Tissue printing has been a growing field because of its potential to produce certain types of tissues and organs for which there has been a shortage in the medical field.

Researchers have been working at the Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices to develop a technique that can reliably produce different types of tissues. The hope is that the tissues can be incorporated into human patients to speed the recovery process following a serious injury or illness. This tissue printing process might also have a role in the repair of a fractured femur.

What is Tissue Engineering?

Tissue engineering is one of the fastest-growing fields of healthcare. In this type of engineering, researchers work with certain types of cells and engineer them to produce biomaterials. Typically, there is a tissue scaffold that the engineers use to support these cells as they grow and divide to produce suitable tissues.

This field has grown to include multiple types of tissues. So far, engineers have produced muscle tissue, skin tissue, blood vessel tissue, cartilage tissue, and even bones. Researchers are working to create organs, such as the liver and the pancreas, through this method because there is such a shortage of these organs in the transplant field.

Tissue Printing and the Repair of a Femur Fracture

In an article that was published in Advanced Materials, tissue engineers say they have developed a new technique that might change the way that cellular engineers work. The goal is to eventually produce organs; however, they believe this technique is already effective in the repair of certain types of bone fractures, such as a broken femur.

The researchers have called this technique volumetric bioprinting. In this technique, the researchers take a tube filled with stem cells. Then, this tube begins to spin rapidly. The engineers then fire a powerful laser at the tube. This laser is used to shape the tube into its desired form. This powerful laser also causes the cells to begin to solidify. At the end of this process, a three-dimensional shape appears in the tube; however, the stem cells are still thriving and are unaffected by this process.

After this, the researchers place endothelial cells in the mixture. The role of these cells is to grow blood vessels which will provide oxygen and nutrients for the cells. The engineers are then able to induce the stem cells to form any tissue they desire. The researchers demonstrated that this technique can be used to produce ligaments of the knee, such as the meniscus, and solid bone, including a femur. This is an improvement over prior processes because the researchers can produce complex structures, such as a femur, much more quickly than in previous iterations.

Watch YouTube Video: What is Tissue Engineering? This video explains how tissue engineering works.

Moving the Tissues to the Clinical Setting

If the researchers can make certain parts of a femur using this method, the hope is that this can be transferred to the clinical setting. Ideally, engineers can produce artificial tissues, such as bone, at record speeds. Then, these structures can be distributed to patients who need them most. Those who have shattered their femur and might have trouble regaining mobility can have fresh bone tissue introduced to their leg. Then, this tissue can integrate with what is left of their femur, speeding the recovery process. They might even make a full recovery thanks to this additional tissue.

The researchers and engineers have stated they plan to expand their work to include other types of tissue. They are looking at producing tissue models, organs, medical devices, and certain types of implants. Their work provides hope for people all over the world who are recovering from severe injuries and illnesses.

Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer. Tissue printing shows promise in the repair of a femur fracture. If your family member or friend has been diagnosed a femur fracture due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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