Japanese researchers have requested regulatory approval for a special 3D printer which only prints artificial bones.
Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Tokyo University's RIKEN and Japanese medical research firm NEXT 21 K.K. collaborated to create the printer, which can produce artificial bones with detail and shaping accurate up to 0.1mm.
The material used within the printer to create the bone substitute is calcium phosphate, found in both bones and teeth. The natural composition of calcium phosphate allows the artificial bones to fuse with a patient's natural bones over time, and removes the need to use heat to force materials to fuse -- reducing the risk of complications.
The technology could be used not only to help broken bones fix properly, but could also be used to replace bone tissue lost to conditions such as cancer or in collisions.
The teams hope that the 3D printer will be available commercially as soon as 2015, if Japan's Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) approves the device. If all goes according to plan, the printer will be used in Japan before release in other Asian countries.
Read on: NEDO
Image credit: NEDO