Key points from article :
Researchers grew replacement cartilage in the lab.
3D printing cartilage can be used to reconstruct the noses of skin cancer patients
Samples don’t need to be taken from elsewhere in the body.
Harvested human nasal cartilage cells, then mixed them with a hydrogel made from cow collagen.
This was then 3D bioprinted into the required shape and left to culture for about four weeks.
During that time, it becomes functional cartilage, ready to be transplanted into a patient.
“..a small biopsy taken from their nose in about 30 minutes, and we can build different shapes of cartilage specifically for them," - Adetola Adesida, corresponding author.
"We can even bank the cells and use them later to build everything needed for the surgery," - Adesida.
Alternatives include molecular surgery, which involves tiny electrified needles making the tissue more malleable.
Hope to test it in humans in the next two or three years.
Research by University of Alberta published in the FASEB Journal.