Rapid 3D Bioprinting from Medical Images

Students

2019
College

Project Summary

This summer I had the unique opportunity of working in a radiology lab, studying 3D-printing of bone scaffolds from medical images. Tissue engineering has recently emerged as a promising substitute for autologous and allopathic grafts. The process involves cell proliferation on a biocompatible and biodegradable scaffold followed by reimplantation. The major challenge is creating a bone graft with sufficient mechanical stability that possesses good osteoconductive, osteoinductive, and osteogenic properties. Medical imaging (CT and MRI) allows generation of volumetric computer models that can be 3D printed. However, the generation of the instruction set understood by 3D printers (i.e., G-Code) requires substantial user interaction and image manipulations, which may take a significant amount of time. This study sought to investigate the 3D-printing process from patient medical images using a promising material for synthetic bone grafts called polycaprolactone. I used a 3D extrusion-based bioprinter to print cross sections of patient bone derived from CT scans to determine the effectiveness of my method. I was able to develop a novel method for rapid 3D printing from medical images such as MRI and CT. This new approach can substantially reduce the time between a patient taking a scan and obtaining a 3D print from the images. As a prospective medical student, I was already interested in the development of more effective treatment methods. Through this research opportunity, I was able to delve deeper into the advancements in 3D-printing technology that have allowed for major breakthrough medical treatments. This research allowed me to experience working at the forefront of a specific field and provided me with more hands-on experience not found in the traditional classroom setting.

Rapid 3D Bioprinting from Medical Images