It could be from years of pounding or climbing or just advancing age.   Sometimes the knees aren’t what they used to be.

“People can’t really even walk and then they have a hard time doing activities in their daily lives,” said Dr. Ibrahim Ozbolat, a Penn State University Tissue Engineer.

 

Inside a Penn State University lab, professor Dr. Ozbolat and his team are engineering a solution.

“We want to make cartilage made of patients’ own cells.”

 

Dr. Ozbolat is an expert in three-dimensional bioprinting, the technique of printing layers of living cells to create a 3-D object.    Like this nose, constructed from silicone and printed in the lab.

 

Now the team is moving down the human body to the knee; producing cartilage patches to repair defects.

 

“Many of the strategies that we look at for repairing osteochondral defects involve stem cells,” said Dr. Daniel Hayes, Penn State Biomedical Engineer.

 

There are no blood vessels in cartilage tissue, so researchers say it’s a good type of tissue for bio-printing.

 

Using cow cells as a test, Professor Ozbolat’s team grows the cartilage into strands that can be used as an ink substitute.

“So the bio-ink is the biological version of the ink that is used in paper printers,” Dr. Ozbolat.