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Joint Queensland-China research centre on 3D printing for ageing population

Photo Credit: Queensland University of Technology

The AU$ 300,000 funding from the Government of Queensland has supported the establishment of a Queensland University of Technology (QUT)-led joint Queensland-China research centre using 3D printing technology to repair ageing body parts.

According to a recent press release, the Joint Research Centre for the Development of Functional Biomaterials in Advanced Manufacturing of Human Tissues and Organs will boost collaboration between leading scientists and industries in Queensland and Shanghai in tissue and human organ engineering.

Background of the initiative

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad explained that the new centre was developed to address the common challenges faced by the ageing populations of both countries.

She shared that the older population of Queensland is expected to grow by 68% over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, about a third of China’s population will be over 60 by 2050.

With the increasing numbers of older people in need of care, the health systems will be put under enormous pressure.

Accelerating research in this important field will improve the quality of life for everyone as they get older, thereby reducing the burden off the health care systems.

Joint Research Centre

The Centre will focus on living tissue replacements to restore the functions of damaged tissues and organs in the treatment of bone and joint disorders.

This will include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fractures and soft tissue trauma, including wounds.

The market for the printing of biomaterials to either repair damaged tissues and organs or even replace them is expected grow substantially over the next few years.

A biomaterial is a biological or synthetic substance which can be introduced into body tissue as part of an implanted medical device or used to replace an organ.

The world market for biomaterials is expected to almost double by 2024 to US$ 207 billion.

Collaboration plans

The University’s Vice-Chancellor and President credits the establishment of the joint research centre to the result of six years of successful research collaboration between researchers from both the University and Shanghai, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research progress has reached the stage where they are poised to up the ante with the aim of developing and manufacturing the next generation of biomaterials for bone and cartilage repair, skin regeneration and joint reconstruction.

The Queensland and Chinese researchers are looking to develop a ‘bioink’ that they can use to engineer scaffolds that can replicate the characteristics of tissues and even organs.

This is brilliant science. It will hold up hope for millions of people suffering from arthritic pain and age-related injuries.

In addition, there is also the economic benefit with growing demand globally for biomaterials.

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