Coolest – BioPen The Handheld 3D Printer for Surgeons
BioPen is a handheld 3D printer which allows surgeons to precisely design and deliver customized bone and other implant materials (live stem cells and growth factors) at the time of surgery to regenerate bone, cartilage, muscle, or nerve tissue. Read more about it right here.
The University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia developed a handheld device is designed to let surgeons “draw” live cells and growth factors directly onto the site of an injury to help accelerate the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage.
How does it work?
Instead of plastic filament, the BioPen extrudes cell material inside a biopolymer such as alginate, which is in turn encased in an outer layer of gel material. Both the outer and inner layers are combined in the pen head as it is extruded and the surgeon “draws” to fill in a section of damaged bone.
As the surgeon draws with the BioPen, the two layers of gel are combined in the pen head as they are are extruded onto the bone surface to fill in the damaged bone section. Then, an ultraviolet light source solidifies the materials, providing protection for the embedded cells as they are built up layer-by-layer to construct a 3D scaffold in the wound site.
Once the cells are drawn onto the surgery site, they will multiply, become differentiated into nerve cells, muscle cells, or bone cells, and eventually develop from individual cells into a thriving community of cells in the form of functioning tissue.
Below you can watch the cool BioPen in action:
Written with love and coolness by crissa on December 20, 2013 in Cool Stuff
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