Paul Gatenholm’s team tested the new 3-D bioprinting in an in vivo mouse model. It will help to precisely print implants to heal damaged noses, ears and knees.

Gatenholm said: "Three-dimensional bioprinting is a disruptive technology and is expected to revolutionize tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

"Our team’s interest is in working with plastic surgeons to create cartilage to repair damage from injuries or cancer."

The team mixed polysaccharides from brown algae, tiny cellulose fibrils from wood or made by bacteria and human chondocytes to create a new bioink.

They have printed living cells in a specific architecture such as an ear shape using this mixture, and these cells also produced cartilage in a laboratory dish.

Researchers said the next step was to move the research from a lab dish to a living system.

Gatenholm’s team printed tissue samples and implanted them in mice, which were survived and produced cartilage.

They are also working with a cosmetic company to develop 3-D bioprinted human skin, in addition to cartilage printing.

The researchers presented their work at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).