3D printed tissues could help keep athletes on track

The Engineer | March 29, 2019

3D printed tissues could help keep athletes on track
Scientists at Rice University, Texas and the University of Maryland reported their first success at engineering scaffolds that replicate the physical characteristics of osteochondral tissue, which is hard bone beneath a compressible layer of cartilage. Injuries to these bones can be painful and often stop athletes careers. Furthermore, osteochondral injuries can also lead to disabling arthritis.
The gradient nature of cartilage-into-bone and its porosity have made it difficult to reproduce in the lab, but Rice scientists led by bioengineer Antonios Mikos and graduate student Sean Bittner have used 3D printing to fabricate what they believe will eventually be a suitable material for implantation.
Athletes are disproportionately affected by these injuries, but they can affect everybody, said Bittner, a third-year bioengineering graduate student at Rice, a National Science Foundation fellow and lead author of the paper. I think this will be a powerful tool to help people with common sports injuries.

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