Bio-pen draws new bone tissues directly on injured parts


A handheld bio pen developed in the labs of the University of Wollongong will allow surgeons to design customised implants during surgery.

A new pen like device named Bio-pen has been developed by the researchers at the University of Wollongong. This Bio-pen will help surgeons to rebuild or draw new bone material on the injured part directly. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) unveiled a prototype of this Bio-pen and has been given to St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

According to the experts this device will prove to be very useful for surgeons all across the globe as it will help them to live cells directly. This will directly affect the growth factors by speeding up the regeneration of cartilage.


Director of Orthopaedics at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Professor Peter Choong (pictured) will use the BioPen in clinical projects.

“This type of treatment may be suitable for repairing acutely damaged bone and cartilage, for example from sporting or motor vehicle injuries. Professor Wallace’s research team brings together the science of stem cells and polymer chemistry to help surgeons design and personalize solutions for reconstructing bone and joint defects in real time.” said Professor Peter Choong, Director of Orthopedics at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and the Sir Hugh Devine Professor of Surgery, University of Melbourne.


How It Works:

This Bio-pen works similar to 3D printing methods. This pen consists of a nib through which ink is applied on the affected or damaged parts. This ink consists of cell material inside a biopolymer such as a seaweed extract and alginate. This biopolymer is further protected by a second, outer layer of gel material. These two gel layers get mixed up in the pen and then this mixture is used to fill in the damaged surface. There is a low power ultra-violet light source attached with the pen which is used to solidify the ink. This helps in protecting the embedded cells. The ink is applied layer by layer on the damaged part constructing a 3D scaffold. The scaffold further provides a structural strength to the surgery.

BioPen to rewrite orthopaedic implants surgery

UOW’s Professor Gordon Wallace and his team at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science developed the device.

The material used in the ink is non-toxic and is biodegradable which helps in the growth and reproduction of cells. This surgery can also support various other drugs to assist recovery and re-growth. This Bio-pen is a perfect example of collaboration of science and fabrication technology as ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace stated, “The combination of materials science and next-generation fabrication technology is creating opportunities that can only be executed through effective collaborations such as this,”.

Via : dailymail