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The best recipe for 3D-printed replacement bones

by • May 4, 2016 • No Comments

Facial and head surgery can require sections of bone to be removed, and doctors frequently have to harvest material of elsewhere in the body to fill in the gaps. That is unquestionably not always an perfect situation, and can lead to complications. New research coming out of the Johns Hopkins University may provide an alternative, creating custom-made, 3D-printed implants of a mixture of plastic and bone powder.

The require for replacement facial and head bones is greater than you can ponder, with an estimated 200,000 folks requiring replacement implants as a outcome of surgery, trauma or birth defects. Traditionally, surgeons remove bone of the patient’s leg, cutting it into the shape of the required implant.

Unsurprisingly, that version is not going to always pan out too well, with the straight nature of the leg bone producing it complex to shape effectively. Combine that with the trauma of having part a bone removed of your leg, and it is clear that a advantageous alternative is called for.

In search of a solution, the Johns Hopkins team turned to additive making, in addition understandn as 3D printing. The method, that works by assembling up of thin layers of material, allows for for the creation of custom-shaped three-dimensional objects. In the case of the study, it provides the opportunity for doctors to turn it into tailor-made, anatomically accurate implants for their patients.

3D-printing usually makes use of plastics, but in order for cells placed on the printed scaffold to understand how to properly interact with it, they require a little organic material to be present. With that in mind, the researchers worked to turn it into a composite implant that combines the durablity and versatility of the plastic with the biological instructions that the bone provides.

For the man-made component, they utilized a biodegradable polyester called polycaprolactone (PCL). This was and so mixed with bone that had been pulverized to form a powder.

“Bone powder contains structural poteins native to the body plus pro-bone growth facts that assist immature stem cells mature into bone cells,” said senior paper author Warren Grayson. “It in addition adds roughness to the PCL, that assists the cells grip and reinforces the message of the growth facts.”

The researchers tried various amounts of the two materials, testing mixes with 5, 30, 70 and 85 percent bone powder. The initially three of those mixes printed well, but the implant with the top percentage of bone powder – the 85 percent mix – had too little PCL to maintain the printed lattice structure.

With that mix eliminated, the team and so moved on to testing how well the printed scaffolds encouraged bone formation. To do so, they introduced fat-derived stem cells harvested of liposuction patients to a nutritional solution containing the scaffold.

The outcomes were pronounced, and incredibly promising. When compared to a pure PCL scaffold, the 70 percent bone powder implant showed hundreds of times higher activity in genes related to bone formation. The 30 percent scaffold in addition showed increase in gene activity, but to a lesser extent.

Next, the team introduced beta-glycerophosphate to the solution, that allows for the enzymes in the cells present to begin depositing calcium to create bone. The 70 percent solution twice as much calcium as in PCL-only scaffolds, while the 30 percent scaffold turn it intod around 30 percent additional.

For the final round of testing, the team implanted the scaffolds into laboratory mice with holes in their skull bones. Once the scaffolds were in place – along with a assisting of stem cells – new bone begined to grow inside the 12 week experiment timeframe. CT scans showed that a few 50 percent additional bone grew in the bone powder-containing scaffolds than in the PCL-only variant.

Whilst the study makes it clear that mixing bone powder and PCL is unquestionably effective, there’s yet a few question over whether the 30 or 70 percent mix is advantageous.

“In both experiments, the 70 percent scaffold encouraged bone formation much advantageous than the 30 percent scaffold, but the 30 percent scaffold is stronger,” said Grayson. “Since there wasn’t a difference between the two scaffolds in healing the mouse skills, we are investigating additional to figure out that blend is most overall.”

The findings of the research are published online in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Source: Johns Hopkins


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