2017- Z Jessop

3D Printing of Cartilage for Facial Reconstruction: Optimising the printability and biofunctionality of nanocellulose for extrusion based 3D bioprinting.

Reconstruction of facial cartilage defects currently uses the patient’s cartilage (from ribs) or synthetic implants. This results in complications related to cartilage harvest, in addition to infection and/or extrusion.
Attempts to engineer cartilage focus on combining synthetic scaffolds with non-specific stem cells which have led to well publicised and serious failures involving regenerative medicine therapies and tracheal implantation. One of the reasons for this is due to a lack of a suitable natural biomaterial and tissue specific stem cells to replicate native tissue architecture whilst maintaining mechanical  strength.

Our laboratory was the first to successfully extract ‘stem cells’ from cartilage in the nose and demonstrate they can secrete cartilage matrix in the laboratory. This project builds on this, combining these cells with a natural material for printing using a specialised 3D bioprinter. Initial results show printability of recognisable structures and stem cell survival, whilst encouraging cartilage formation