Session 2-B

3D Printing and the Search for Better Bone Replacement

Wednesday, November 2, 3:00 - 3:50 PM

Speaker(s): Warren Grayson

By creating ready-to-implant plastic bone that can turn into living tissue, Dr. Grayson and his team aims to improve life dramatically for patients undergoing facial reconstructive surgery. This summer, he took a step toward that goal. This presentation will focus on the breakthrough technologies used to enable precise control of the cellular microenvironment and address fundamental questions regarding the application of biophysical cues to regulate stem cell differentiation.

Dr. Grayson and his team developed a recipe for success when it comes to 3D printing bone—to make a good framework for filling in missing bone, mix at least 30 percent pulverized natural bone with special man-made plastic, and create the needed shape with a 3D printer.

In their experiments, Dr. Grayson and his team set out to make a composite material that would combine the strength and printability of plastic with the biological “information” contained in natural bone. The team tried multiple experiments to finally get a recipe that worked well.

The team tested their scaffolds in mice with relatively large holes in their skull bones made experimentally. Without intervention, the bone wounds were too large to heal. Mice that got scaffold implants laden with stem cells had new bone growth within the hole over the 12 weeks of the experiment. CT scans showed that at least 50 percent more bone grew in scaffolds containing 30 or 70 percent bone powder, compared to those with pure PCL. This work represents a dramatic step forward in 3D printing human bones.