Scientists on 3D Print: The Ingredient to Replace Human's Bone?


The 3D print breakthrough might be useful for replacing bones in the future. Scientists at John Hopkins University has studied the materials for bone loss replacement and found that 3D print fits well as the ingredient, alongside man-made plastic and natural bone powder.

It seems that Eric Shmidt prediction on 3D print trend can finally be seen. Warren Grayson, a medical student from the university says that surgeries for bone replacement have used human's fibula as part of the ingredient. Fibula or leg bone, is then implanted somewhere else to replace the loss. However, it has a side effect, that is, resulting leg trauma.

The university research also finds that more than 200,000 people are in need of bone replacement due to surgery, trauma and many other defects. Using the 3D print experiment, scientists hope to give better option of bone replacement using more natural and fitter materials.

The additive manufacturing is able to 'copy' real object shapes using the digital computer. Thus, it gives precise structures of a part, like a lower jaw pictured in this image. 3D print has also been used in a previous research to construct human-sized bone structure using fabricate shape similar to the reconstruction. ABC reported that this procedure is used for cases in traumatic injuries,

For ingredients, the scientists use bone powder obtained from a cow's knee through the process of decellularize. This FDA-approved procedure has been used in various experiments for clinical purpose. However, researchers hope that they could use real human bones in the future, to confirm its benefits.

Furthermore, they also plan to design more natural ingredients in bone replacement by experimenting with the inner part of the scaffolds.

Ethan Nyberg, scientist in Grayson's team explains that the tests have different results. For instance, he describes one experiment as 'chocolate chip cookie with too many chocolate chips'. Grayson and team are still experimenting with the mixtures and ingredients so to figure which blend is the best.

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