3D Printed Bone Replacement

Applicable across orthopedic and veterinary fields
3D Printer

Available for Licensing
TRL: 5

IP Status
Reference No: 2021-063
Licensing Manager

Steve Foster

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a regenerative scaffold to treat bone defects that is composed of biologically-derived bone powder. The scaffold is 3D printed, allowing for fully customized scaffolds that are weight-bearing and encourage native bone growth to replace the scaffold fully.



Tissue engineering seeks to enhance current methods and encourage healing of the body through scaffolds and site specific signaling to encourage healing by the body itself. For bone healing solutions, osteoconductive scaffolds have been developed attempting to balance native bone growth and human-scale load bearing. Many solutions balance these by creating calcium phosphate based scaffolds with polycaprolactone, or other inorganic materials like silica or tin, to improve the toughness of the material. However, thus far scaffolds have reduced bioactivity of the minerals needed to encourage bone growth, or are too brittle to support weight-bearing activities. There remains a need for improved bone-regeneration scaffolds.


A scaffold for the use of bone regeneration that utilizes endogenous bone material has been developed. The powder material is biologically-derived, and thus is highly suitable for implantation and encourages native bone growth. The powder is able to be 3D printed to create a custom endoprosthesis, which supports weight bearing activity but also actively encourages osteoconductive pathways to signal bone growth and healing of a break from within the body. The balance of strength to osteogenesis in such a scaffold would allow for critical bone defects to be repaired with a fully biodegradable scaffold, and would be biocompatible for implantation in humans. Large animal studies have thus far been successful to show critical defect healing, without weight bearing being affected in limb saving studies.

  • Endogenous, biologically-derived material
  • Balance of strength and osteogenesis
  • Enhanced bone growth
  • Large animal studies have shown bone healing and gait and pressure analysis to be unaffected by the scaffold, allowing normal range of motion and load bearing
  • Customized fit to bone deformities or wounds
  • May eliminate permanent fixation devices
  • Scaffold may be modified with other proteins to encourage biologically relevant signaling pathways, such as angiogenesis, antibiotic delivery, and other functions
  • Critical bone wounds
  • Bone defects
  • Veterinary fields
  • Orthopedic fields

Last updated: October 2022