Federal government backs research to enable 3D printing of stem cells

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The federal government has announced it will invest almost $7 million in research that will enable live stem cells to be 3D printed in order to treat damaged body parts.

The 'Aristocrat' project will deliver a framework for the use of point-of-care manufacturing of 3D printed cartilage so it can be used for patients with a variety of health issues.

The project aims to prevent osteoarthritis, a painful joint disease, meaning two million Australians could benefit from it each year, including 50 per cent of people over 65 years old who currently live with painful deformed joints each year.

The project aims to reduce the number of surgeries required, reduce hospital visits and the need for long-term care.

The framework will guide the use of stem cells so they can be safely used in the treatment and repair of damaged tissue for patients with a range of conditions. This will deliver bespoke, personalised treatment options for people living with conditions that cause physical pain and emotional distress.

The impact of joint deformity or facial disfigurement can be physically debilitating as well as mentally challenging, and many Australians could benefit from this life-changing technology.

The project will receive almost $7 million through the Medical Research Future Fund.

The project is one of seven receiving a total of $24.4 million through the latest Stem Cell Therapies grant opportunity, boosting research into new treatments using stem cells.

“Many Australians are left struggling after disease or accidents. They deal with painful, potentially debilitating joint or facial disfigurements which impact their health and wellbeing," said assistant minister for health and aged care, Ged Kearney.

“This is not only life-changing for Australians but also promising for what else we can do to deliver personalised health care.

“This Australia-first research is bringing together expertise from around the country to deliver an innovative solution for patients and offering hope to thousands of Australians.”