Scientists from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) have developed a process for 3D bio-printing regenerative knee cartilage tissue.

To replace damaged or deteriorated cartilage in the knee — otherwise known as the meniscus — the WFIRM team used a combination of different bio-inks to 3D print fibrocartilage tissue layer by layer wherein the first layer encourages cells in the body to multiply while the second layer ensures that the structure of the material is both strong and flexible.

The WFIRM team tested the process on mice in the lab, demonstrating after 10 weeks that the mice were able to regenerate their fibrocartilage, hastened by the 3D printed hybrid bio-ink structures.

While the material needs to undergo additional testing, the WFIRM team believes it could one day bio-print cartilage that could potentially restore knee function damage incurred by injury or age-related deterioration.

The research appears in the Chemistry of Materials.

To contact the author of this article, email