Skip to main content

Scientists get 3D-bioprinted human cells to grow inside live mice

3d bioprinting human cartilage live mice 41486587 l
Anna Ivanova/123RF
In what represents an exciting advance for those hoping for 3D-printed body parts, researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska Academy have demonstrated the successful implantation of 3D-bioprinted human cartilage in mice.

The printing was carried out using Swedish company CellInk’s Inkredible bioprinter.

“This work involved the bioprinting of human stem cells and human chondrocytes in a biocompatible bioink with the aim to engineer cartilage tissue,” Héctor Martínez, chief technology and scientific officer of CellInk, told Digital Trends. “The engineered grafts were then implanted in a mice model to aid and study their maturation and development.”

3D-printed implants themselves are nothing new. What is new, and potentially transformative, about this work is that the human cartilage grew inside the mice, while blood vessels formed around the lattice-shaped 3D-printed material. After 60 days, what had developed looked a lot like cartilage, which was then stimulated through the addition of stem cells — thereby prompting further cell division.

“What makes this research exciting is the hope, one day, to overcome the limitations of conventional surgery and move closer to a future in which it will be possible to improve the health of people worldwide,” Matteo Amoroso, a consultant plastic surgeon who co-authored a paper on the work, told us. “Our results represent a small step forward, advancing the knowledge in this field, and we are happy for the contribution.”

As to what’s next, Héctor Martínez noted that extensive in-vitro and preclinical studies must now be carried out to assess the development of such engineered tissues, as well as what’s needed to control the tissue development. “That is, we must understand the efficacy and safety of the engineered tissue before it is translated to the clinic,” he said.

We may still be years away from this technology being available for humans, but there’s every reason to be cautiously optimistic.

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Need a last-minute Halloween costume? Check out these 3D-printable getups
3D printed Halloween costumes

Still not sure what to dress up as for Halloween this year? Well, instead of frantically scrambling around town looking for the right shop with the right stuff, have you considered 3D printing your Halloween costume? Check out our list of 3D-printable masks and costume pieces to get all geared up for this year's spooking, then fire up that printer.

If you've already finished your costume and want to get started on your scary movie watchlist, we've put together a list of the best horror movies on Netflix.
Squid Game soldier mask

Read more
NASA is testing a 3D printer that uses moon dust to print in space
The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility, and the print heads, plates and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station.

The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility and the print heads, plates, and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station. Redwire Space

When a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this week, it carried a very special piece of equipment from Earth: A 3D printer that uses moon dust to make solid material.

Read more
The best 3D printers under $500
3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500
anycubic photon review 3d printer xxl 2

The 3D printing market has seen quite a few changes over the last few years. In just the span of a decade, the barrier to entry has dropped from well over several thousand dollars to under $200 in some cases. However, all entry and mid-level printers are not made equal. We have a few suggestions for prospective buyers and other information regarding alternatives not found on this list.

To some veterans of the 3D printing scene, this list may seem like it lacks a few of the most commonly recommended printers for newcomers. This is by design. Our list only considers printers with tested components from proven, reliable vendors. That's why we chose the Monoprice MP Mini v2 as our top pick--it's reliable and easy to use. We have avoided any printer with a frame primarily made from interlocking acrylic pieces and anything historically unreliable.
Most bang for your buck: Monoprice MP Mini v2

Read more