OutsideOnline cartilage human grown on-a-chip tissue osteoarthritis MMP13 bioprint

Now we just have to figure out how to get it inside of us.     Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Human Cartilage Grown on a Chip

Might save your knees and fingers

Scientists released the first living human cartilage sample from "tissue-on-a-chip" research yesterday. According to a report published in ScienceDaily, scientists behind the new bioprint hope to give doctors a chip they can thread into a catheter and print whatever tissue the patient needs, right there in the tube.

Largely in response to the fact that one in every two Americans will develop some form of osteoarthritis, usually in their fingers or knees, during the course of their lifetime, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology just actualized a big push for osteoarthritic research after scientists a few years ago located the gene mutation (MMP13 enzyme) that sparks the destruction of cartilage.

Unlike most approaches to bioprinting, Rocky Tuan, lead scientist for "tissue-on-a-chip," used visible light, whereas other approaches require UV light (which harms stem cells the way it harms the film over your eyes).

Now Tuan and his team are working on improving the efficiency and strength of their bioprint. That means spinning cartilage nanofibers into the extracellular matrices that produce cartilage in our bodies.

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