Technology: The Promise of Printing

December 7, 2016

(Nature) – People in their 30s are probably not thinking about needing surgery to repair their knees. But in a few decades, the rigours of daily living or the ravages of arthritis may send them to the operating theatre. And there, they might find a 3D printer ready to build new bone or cartilage in their bodies. Such is the hope of Ibrahim Ozbolat, a biological engineer at Pennsylvania State University in University Park who is developing 3D-printing techniques to repair tissue such as cartilage. He envisions a machine that will deposit successive layers of biocompatible material, laden with cells, into a defect. “In the future, we can have the patient under the bioprinter,” says Ozbolat.