Home Medical Biocompatible 3D printed implants could revolutionize neurology

Biocompatible 3D printed implants could revolutionize neurology

Novel biocompatible inks and 3D printing processes open up promising prospects for the treatment of neurological diseases such as blindness, chronic pain and neurodegenerative conditions. Researchers at the University of South Australia are working on flexible, implantable structures that will enable direct electronic communication with nerve cells.

“Our goal is to virtually program out injury and disease by printing low-cost electronic devices that can communicate with the body in its own language,” explains Matthew Griffith, Associate Professor of Materials Science at UniSA.

The basis is formed by carbon-based, biocompatible inks that can be processed into soft, flexible structures using 3D printing. After surgical implantation, these artificial nerve connections are intended to correct faulty nerve activity through targeted electrical impulses.

Previous approaches such as brain stimulation or retinal implants have only shown limited success, as the materials used, such as metals and silicon, often lead to incompatibilities. According to Griffith, the new biomaterials could circumvent this problem.

Around 3 billion people worldwide suffer from neurological diseases, 200 million are blind and one in five suffers from chronic pain – all of which are the result of faulty nerve impulses. “When we talk to sufferers and clinicians, everyone is excited about the potential of this technology to cure these diseases for the first time in history,” says Griffith.

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