In a new development, a team of researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered to use 3D bioprinting technology to create custom cartilage for surgical procedures. The objective of the work is to simplify it for surgeons for safe repair of features of patients of skin cancer, living with nasal cartilage abnormalities after surgery.
To create this, the researchers used specially crafted hydrogel that can be mixed with cells obtained from a patient. The mixture is then printed in a specific shape captured via 3D imaging. In a matter of few weeks, the mixture is cultured in a lab to become functional.
In fact, for an individual, it takes a lifetime to make a cartilage. On the other hand, this method takes only about four weeks. Still, there is some degree of maturity that the method has to go through, especially when it is implanted in the body. But, in terms of functions, it can perform like a cartilage.
Nonetheless, the cartilage needs to possess certain mechanical properties and need to display strength. It meets the requirements of a material, which, at the outset is 92 percent water.
The research undertaken by the team is to create 3D printed cartilage in the hope to provide a better solution for clinical problems of patients with skin cancer.
Meanwhile, each year, in North America, more than three million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. Of this, 40 percent have lesions on the nose, of which, many require surgery to remove them. Importantly, as part of the surgical procedure, it may involve removing cartilage of patients, leaving the face disfigured.