Students from Mexico use a 3D printer to create synthetic bone implants

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Mexican students create bone implants from a third-generation material that promotes bone growth

Students from Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) in Puebla, Mexico, made use of a 3D printing machine to create biocompatible bone implants from special material; this method is capable of regenerating bone tissue and could actually replace the use of existing alternatives.

synthetic bone implants
Students Irving Fernández Cervantes, Brenda Lizbeth Arroyo Reyes and Patricia Victoria Perez Luna receiving this year’s Javier Barros Sierra Prize Award for creating a biocompatible synthetic material capable of regenerating bone tissue.

As a result, the team received this year’s Javier Barros Sierra Prize Award by both Mexican Academy of Engineering and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The winners also received 75 thousand pesos (approximately $4,091 USD).

3D printed scaffolds for synthetic material allow the growth of new bone tissue in the body

To develop the technique, young researchers used computer algorithms to simulate the bone’s growth within the 3D printed scaffold; consequently, the team tested the method in lab rats and obtained a 100% of both functionality and resistance. Working on the project, Irving Fernandez Cervantes, who is a materials engineer at the Scientific Research Center in Yucatan (CICY), said:

“The best thing is that this material is designed using a mathematical model that represents how bone regenerates…” 

But what really amazes me is the biocompatible nature of the composite material; A nanomaterial made of polylactic acid, hydroxyapatite and sodium alginate, which promotes the regeneration of bone cells by entering the body as bone fillings. This allows to think in designing by computer prosthetics with morphology of this tissue.

Finally, it takes the body a total of 28 days to absorb and regenerate bone’s tissue after implanting the material; The material has now two patents registered.

Composite material Implants could replace the use of metal implants

Its developers suggest the use of this technique instead of replacing with any other existing material that would inevitably deteriorate sooner or later. Unlike titanium, stainless steel or plastic prosthesis, synthetic bone implants contribute to the reproduction of the cells.

Similarly, the new method bases upon the patient’s own cells, so it almost eradicates the possibility of patient’s body rejection.

synthetic bone implants
Caption: Students used 3D printing technology to materialize 3D printed scaffold that would house synthetic bone material;  It is conveniently ready to be 3D printed for mass production.

According to local statistics, at least in Mexico, the elderly population registers an exponential growth in the country; Hence the existence of a greater index of bone pathologies.

“Wear and loss of bone tissue through trauma or wear and tear have become a serious public health problem, as it mainly affects the economically active society….”

Explained the award-winning master’s student, Irving Fernández. As a matter of fact, femur and hip fractures are the most frequent health problems for the elderly population. Fortunately, bone implants with synthetic material could also become an alternative for any kind of fracture; even a third-degree one, where the bone’s integrity is compromised.

Featured image shows Irving Fernandez Cervantes testing the laboratory’s 3D printer.

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  1. Candy says

    This is AMAZING! I had to share via twitter ( @CandyEastSheets ) We need to continue to focus on how technology can better our lives. Then again–eventually, we may all be bionic men and women.
    I’m just excited to read such news, particularly coming from a country many don’t give enough credit to!

    1. Diana Segura says

      I know! we don’t usually find many Tech news from Mexico but this one is an exception 😀

  2. Richard Bynum says

    This is great coming from Mexico! Glad that they are in the top of the tech field! Blew my mind! And soon 3D printers will be in every surgery room to make parts the fit the patient perfectly!!

  3. Jared Heifetz says

    Wow, this is just amazing!

  4. Denis Bomfim says

    Hi, Diana.

    Thank you so much for your article. The use of 3D printing to help injured or impaired people is so exciting. I think it’s one of the noblest ways of using it.

    Please keep writing amazing stories like that.

  5. Mary says

    This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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