01:50 GMT20 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station (ISS) have started printing inorganic components of rat bone tissue as part of an experiment devised by Russian company 3D-bioprinting Solutions, managing partner Yusef Khesuani said on Saturday.

    "The experiment began in orbit as planned at 11:45 Moscow time on April 11," Khesuani said.

    Prior to this, experiments on the printing of various tissues such as cartilage, bone, and muscle had already been carried out on the bioprinter developed by the company which is on the spacecraft. This time, the astronauts have to print only bone tissue for several days. The resulting samples will be returned to Earth, after which scientists will study them.

    Khesuani explained that the plan is to implant the samples into a living rat as part of the experiment.

    Scientists are interested in the osteoinductive and osteoconductive properties of materials obtained in space, that is, their ability to initiate tissue growth and how well they are suitable as a framework for such growth.

    In the future, this technology could be used to treat critical fractures, as well as to replace defects in bone tumours or surrounding soft tissues with bone metastases.

    cosmonauts, 3D printing, ISS, Russia
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