The ability to produce exact replacement parts for the skeleton has been a reality since the development of 3D printing. However, the ability to produce exact replacement parts that regenerate into normal functional tissue has been a goal of academic and industrial research for many years with no products achieving the goal to date. Our team at SteinerBio has been in pursuit of this goal for many years and we are pleased to announce a major breakthrough. Before we do that, however, we will first walk you through what needs to be accomplished to achieve the goal of 3D printing of science-based bone grafts to regenerate skeletal defects.
Because of those characteristics, it is currently the most studied bone regenerative material. While beta tricalcium phosphate (βTCP) is the best bone regeneration matrix, it still requires something to be added that stimulates bone formation. In our case, that is provided by the addition of our SteinerBio putty.
The biggest obstacle of printing βTCP is that it will not print with any known binders. Therefore, if your goal is a βTCP structure, you must first find a powder that will print, and then after printing, convert it into βTCP. There are many ways to produce βTCP, but most all require additives which make printing possible. However, the result is not pure beta tricalcium phosphate.
At SteinerBio, we decided that the powder used for printing must contain only the atoms that compose βTCP. Therefore, we could only start with the ions: calcium, phosphate, and oxygen. Now we needed to conceive of a compound that could be created that would produce a powder that could be printed and later converted into βTCP. Once we settled on the powder composition, we needed to calculate the exact molar ratios of the various molecules we were combining to produce the exact ratio of calcium, phosphate, and oxygen ions to form the precise crystalline structure.
To convert the molecules into the crystalline structure, intense heat is required for the ions to scramble into the desired structure. In addition, the various molecules must be in immediate contact with each other with the proper ratio for the scrambling to occur correctly. This is achieved with what is called a turbula. This is a scientifically designed machine that is used to mix molecules of different densities and spread them all out equally through the powder.