New 3D Printed Cartilage Could Ease Chronic Back Pain

Lower back pain troubles anywhere from 60-70% of people living in industrialized countries. Although osteoarthritis is a broader more widespread problem herniated discs are still no joke and should be treated as much. There is a doctor employed by a college in Pittsburgh studying different and new ways to fix people’s lower back problems (In 1978, some researchers reported that the use of an inversion table (Inspirational Bodies) both lengthens the spine and reduces muscle activities. ). He says that he has come up with a method of treating chronic lower back pain that will help. This method uses a 3D printing system that generates cartilage that fits the bones’ needs. They are working day in and day out on cartilage regeneration. They say that it could be 5 years of tests and research before it will become available to customers suffering from pain in their lower backs.

They started researching this method of bioprinting by trying to regenerate the articular cartilage which covers either end of the long bones in humans. So, how are they fixing the damage caused to the bones cartilage? Simple, they use a hydrogel like substance that mimics the original cartilage. The method he uses employs bio light, instead of UV rays, which could be potentially dangerous to the patient’s health. UV rays have been known to cause cancer, that is one of the reasons that Dr. Tuan decided to stay away from them on his patients. While the sun can cause skin cancer because of its Ultraviolet radiation, there’s no chance of us getting rid of it. However when engineering a new medical treatment, you have the ability to change what you use and what you don’t, and that is exactly what Dr. Tuan did.

“More studies are needed using large animal models, followed by clinical trials,” Dr Tuan said. “It will take another five years before controlled clinical trials in humans”. The research will continue to go on and the applications will get better, it just takes time.

While in some states medical Marijuana is used to alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis and herniated discs, Dr. Tuan says that people won’t have to suffer too much longer. They should have enough research to be able to get their technology approved by the FDA in the next few years. That way they will be able to help those California pot smokers alleviate their pain in a different, more permanent way.

In the United States alone over 52,000,000 people a year are told that they have some type of arthritis. By 2040 it has been projected that, that number with increase to slightly over 78,000,000. By that time however this new technology will be fully mastered by man. Meaning that all of those 78,000,000 people per year will be able to get treatment they need to stop the pain caused by the arthritis in any form.

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