Every year there are more and more projects in the field of medical 3D printing, concerning the production of prostheses or implants with the use of additive technologies. One of them is the TRIANKLE project, which aims to create 3D printed regenerative implants that will help in the reconstruction of injuries resulting from ankle injuries.

The project has been joined by the Barça Innovation Center, which is a research and development laboratory for the Spanish football club FC Barcelona. No wonder – injuries of the joints of the lower extremities are an injury that often plagues footballers, and proper therapy and convalescence can often have an impact on their further career.

The project is developing collagen-based cell structures that can reduce patients’ recovery time by up to half. 12 people from different companies and scientists from Leitat Technological Center and Fraunhofer IGB are in charge of the project. The project is a subset of the European Horizon 2020 program, supporting the development of promising research fields. The sum of funds under the program is EUR 80 billion, of which EUR 5.9 million will be allocated to the implementation of the TRIANKLE project. Its launch is scheduled for next year.

The TRIANKLE project will help highlight the potential of innovative 3D printing applications in medical applications and provide the basis for the development of future regenerative therapies for connective tissues. Biodruk 3D gives the possibility of full personalization of implants, which will help in eliminating the problems typical for conventional methods of treating tendon injuries. The use of an improved hydrogel can shorten the recovery time by up to 50% and improve the functionality of damaged tissues by 10-15%.

As part of the project, researchers will develop modern methods of regenerating the tissue of the ankle joint, which in the case of footballers is constantly exposed to injuries. Current regenerative therapies are not efficient enough and therefore do not restore full tissue functionality. This results in recurrent complications and recurrences of injuries. That is why the need to develop an alternative, more effective and efficient method is so great. The main assumption of the project is to reduce the number of injuries in players, emphasize the potential of 3D bio-printing and increase the number of applications of this method of additive manufacturing. Moreover, the use of a hydrogel in joint regeneration therapy can bring significant savings.

Patrycja Dubert
Biomedical engineer interested in unconventional and innovative approach to medicine and its connection with modern technology.

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