The BioPen device consists of stem cells and growth factors and works on principles similar to those used in 3D printing.
When a surgeon 'draws' with the pen on the site of the injury, then live cells and growth factors are delivered inside a bio-polymer by a second, outer layer of gel material. A low powered ultra-violet light source is also used to solidify the ink during dispensing.
"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", Professor Peter Choong from St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, who will be working on optimizing the cell material for use in clinical trials, said.