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Soft-tissue engineering for hard-working cartilageAn international study published in the journal Nature Communications points the way toward wider, more effective use of biocompatible materials in repairing human tissues. Focusing on the difficult case of restoring cartilage, which requires both flexibility and mechanical strength, the researchers investigated a new combination of 3-D printed microfiber scaffolding and hydrogels. The composites they tested showed elasticity and stiffness comparable to knee-joint tissue, as well as the ability to support the growth and cross-linking of human cartilage cells. Researchers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) expect the new approach to have an impact on other areas of soft-tissue engineering research, including breast reconstruction and heart tissue engineering.