Researchers at Michigan Technological University are working on building replacement nerves using 3D bioprinting techniques. Even though still in the early stages, the team has already developed polymer materials that can serve as a scaffold for growing tissues and is working on integrating graphene as the electrical conductor. The combination of the materials can lead to the assembly of functional, high complexity nerve tissue that would then be transplanted into patients.
Having found the materials that are good candidates for this type of work, the investigators are working on adapting their printer. This is a major step that will require a lot of experimentation, since heat and pressure can deform and melt the materials.
Here’s a video of the 3D bioprinter doing its thing: