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Biologics Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and National Institute of Standards

3D Printed Stem Cells Grow Bone

Biloine W. Young • Mon, February 27th, 2017

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South Korean researchers from UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) have developed a technique for repairing bone using 3D printed stem cells. A paper, written by 11 of the UNIST researchers and published in the January issue of ACS Nana Journal, explains that 3D printing these stem cells with red-light absorbing carbon nitride could in the future rapidly increase bone growth and regeneration.

This new research from UNIST has developed an approach using stem cells that, when 3D printed, could help the growth of bones. One of the researchers, Professor Young-Kyo Seo, believes the work will also have a positive effect on the medical 3D printing industry. The research has an impact upon the treatment of skeletal injuries, as it drastically reduces the time required to regenerate bone tissue.

The UNIST process uses photo-catalytic carbon material, in addition to human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. The significant aspect of this technique, is the use of the red-light absorbing C3N4 sheets. These sheets emitted fluorescence which can be used to drastically speed up bone regeneration. Having absorbed the red light, the emitted fluorescence induces the production of calcium.

Researchers used mice to test the growth of the bone marrow stem cells and found that the mice skulls regenerated 91% within four weeks using this technique. This was opposed to a 36% recovery in the standard control group.

The researchers believe that their work has opened the possibility of developing a “new medicine” that effectively will treat skeletal injuries, such as fractures and osteoporosis.

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