It is the first time that a 3D bioprinted tissue has been developed in a lab. The cartilage in the knee is an articular cartilage, which has a huge load bearing capacity.
Whereas those produced in the lab so far are transient cartilages which become brittle in a short period of time as they get converted into bone cells.
The 3D bioprinting approach allows the cartilage cells present in the bioink to convert to specialised cells which maintain the extracellular matrix of cartilage.
- Millions of people around the world suffer from degenerative diseases such as arthritis
- Despite attempts scientists were unable to produce in lab, cartilage like tissues that are functionally and structurally similar to cartilages seen in human knees and have load bearing capacity
- Researchers in India were successful in developing cartilages that are molecularly similar to human knee cartilages
What Indian scientists have achieved:
- A team led by Prof Sourab ghosh from the department of textile technology at the Indian institute of technology, Delhi have successfully printed 3D cartilages using a bioink
- High concentration of bone marrow derived stem cells, silk protein is present in the bioink
- Amino acids present in silk protein closely resemble those present in human tissues
- The chemical composition of the bio ink supports cell growth and long-term survival of cells
Challenges that were overcome:
- The conversion of stem cells into bone cells was stopped
- To achieve this bioink composition and 3D bioprinting process was optimized and several growth factors were also used
- The silk bioink was optimized in such a way that it activated two important signaling pathways
- This minimized or inhibited the conversion of the cartilage into bone like tissue
- The 3D bioprinted cartilage would be next implanted into the knee joints of animals to see whether it remains stable and is able to integrate with the surrounding cartilages
- The study has also opened new possibilities in drug delivery and pharmaceutical studies