Skip to content

The Lab for Therapeutic 3D Bioprinting at Mass General

In This Video

  • The Lab for Therapeutic 3D Bioprinting conducts research on new, innovative and minimally invasive therapies for children
  • Much of the lab's current work focuses on the growth and application of articular cartilage for varied joint afflictions
  • The lab is working to develop and patent technologies with applications in spine, cancer and drug research within and beyond the field of orthopaedic surgery

In this video, Brian E. Grottkau, MD, chief of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Service at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the Laboratory for Therapeutic 3D Bioprinting, discusses some of the research being done by the lab. The laboratory's mission is to bioprint live micro-tissues that are comparable to human tissues for therapeutic purposes, including tissue regeneration, organ regeneration and anticancer therapy.


I have a lab called the Laboratory for Therapeutic 3D Bioprinting in which we perform research on minimally invasive therapies for use in children, such as cartilage regeneration for osteochondritis, dissecans, lesions of the knee and various other afflictions. Knee osteochondritis dissecans is a vexing thing to treat, and our current therapies right now are primarily aimed at replacing the cartilage loss with fibrocartilage, which doesn't wear the same as articular cartilage. Additionally, there are other options for treatment, including taking normal articular cartilage from other places in the joint, but that leads to a deficit elsewhere, so we are hoping to be able to grow articular cartilage in the human knee to repair these defects and use it throughout the world to repair these pre-osteoarthritic lesions.

I think it's fairly transformative in the field of orthopaedics. The main reason for that is it may have applications well beyond the treatment of articular cartilage: focal lesions in the knee, a lot like craters on the moon. We can also take a joint that has been completely denuded of articular cartilage and regrow completely new articular cartilage on the joint, and we're hoping that it works in an in vivo fashion and we've shown that it can work in vitro thus far.

I think the Lab for 3D Bioprinting is quite innovative. We are looking at multiple treatments, including treatments for spine problems. Our technology that we have developed there, and are currently patenting, can also be used in cancer treatment and in high throughput drug screening. So we think the outcome from our research is much more widespread than just with orthopaedics.

Learn more about the Laboratory for Therapeutic 3D Bioprinting

Refer a patient to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Related topics


Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are using a novel approach—direct-volumetric drop-on-demand (DVDOD) technology—to three-dimensional (3D) bioprint healthy articular cartilage.


The dome technique, described by Christopher M. Melnic, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and colleagues, allows for stepwise, systematic reconstruction of massive anterosuperior medial defects encountered during revision total hip arthroplasty.