SAM OGDEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SAM OGDEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artificial cartilage. Gloved hand holding discs of artificial cartilage on a metal wire. The cartilage may be used to replace the worn coverings of joints or to rebuild features like noses or ears after injury. Chondrocytes (cartilage cells) are placed onto a loose three- dimensional polymer scaffold and put into a culture medium in a bioreactor. The scaffolds are rotated in the bioreactor to ensure that all the cells receive enough nutrients and the cartilage forms evenly. Once placed into the body, the polymer dissolves, leaving only the cartilage. The growth of tissues and organs from cultured cells would end the need for tissue and organ donors.
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