3D Printers To Repair Equine Fractures? It’s Not Science Fiction

Scientists from the Animal Health Trust and the University of East Anglia are researching the use of 3D printers to help heal broken bones in horses. Bone fractures in the limbs commonly occur from overloading or traumatic injury; fractures in horses can be difficult to treat.

Drs. Arabella Baird, Noelia Dominguez Falcon, Aram Saeed and Deborah Jane Guest have made 3D printed scaffolds that can be used to turn induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into bone. iPS cells are formed when an adult cell turns back into a stem cell. This reprogramming allows scientists to grow the cells in a lab indefinitely; the cells can then be turned into any specific cells that may be needed, such as a tendon or a ligament cell. These iPS cells can be used in regenerative medicine approaches to replace injured or damages tissues.

The material used to create the scaffold is cheap and can be printed in any size or shape. The scaffold can also be treated with a material that encourages cells to attach to the surface. The scaffold material is clear, so it’s easy for scientists to determine when the iPS cells have turned into bone cells.

Read more at Horse Talk.

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