Signals Blog
Creative Commons, Flickr

Creative Commons, Flickr

Jennifer Hicks at Forbes has written about a handheld surgical device that can draw stem cells to repair cartilage so that the damaged cartilage can heal itself with its own cells. How cool is that?!

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science in Melbourne, Australia, has produced the biopen. It is still at the proof-of-concept stage and is described as using “3D printing methods to draw a gel-like stem cell material onto cartilage.” Ms. Hicks suggests it is like a Bic four colour pen that has custom nozzles to print multiple ink formulations side-by-side. You can read her article here.

Medical devices are not something that we have blogged about much on Signals, but according to our friends at MedDev Commercialization Centre (MDCC), a Canadian centre of excellence for commercialization and research, the global medical devices market is expected to reach US$398 billion in 2017. The MDCC website also states that “the delivery of healthcare is not possible without medical devices…[and] meaningful reduction of the costs of healthcare in Canada can be attained through the advancement of medical device technologies.”

In the regenerative medicine medical devices field in Canada there are only a few players: Octane, Sernova, Interface Biologics, Induce Biologics and Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics (TRT). If you want to count a reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery company in this category, there is also Adipologix.

The industry is much larger in the United States. The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s 2014 annual report states that combined therapeutics and devices companies represent 56% of the regenerative medicine industry.

If you are interested in reading about previous Signals blogs on medical devices, there is this post on novel biomaterial devices from Patrick Blit, and Hamideh Emrani wrote a profile on Jed Davies, President and CEO of TRT, and its medical device called OsteoScaf®.

But back to the biopen! Here is Prof. Peter Choong, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, demonstrating this novel device.


Thank you to my colleague Julia Hong, Industry Liaison at CCRM, for her valuable contributions to this post.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at) We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.