Medical technology continues to advance all the time, with life-saving procedures and medicines that were previously unheard of. Now, Global Data believe that 3D printing could be as disruptive to healthcare as the internet has been to retail.
The company initiated a study for its Disruptor Tech database, and the results revealed that 3D printing could revolutionise the supply chain by limiting the gaps between sourcing, production, and distribution. 3D printing has the ability to create ‘clinical trial ready’ devices without the need for expensive tools, computer-aided manufacturing, and computer numerically controlled manufacturing. As a result of this, price is lowered and waiting times are also reduced.
Printing accurate models of organs is reducing recovery time and healthcare costs.
16By taking advantage of 3D printing technology, doctors are presented with tangible, accurate models of organs. This is helping both doctors and students to perform better. Some programs and labs have been started in hospitals to try and adopt 3D printing technology. According to doctors, the program has empowered med students to invent their own solutions to healthcare challenges and helped tighten design cycles. Their products draw from training and experience with actual patients, striving to make a difference in the quality of care for future generations.
The following was derived from an interview from an interview with Todd Pietila, Materialise’s business development manager for hospital 3D printing. He talked about what models are printed, how they help, regulations, and more.
Three-dimensional printers are letting doctors in Minnesota make simulated body parts in a hospital and a Brooklyn startup create rocket engines designed to put satellites into orbit, executives said Thursday at an event hosted by General Electric Co.
The unusual locations for additive printing, highlighted at the first such event GE has organized, showed how quickly the technology is moving beyond plastic prototypes to everyday industrial use.
Companies are now routinely printing titanium engine parts, customizing dashboards of high-end cars, turning out jewelry and eyeglass frames and developing rocket engines.
Medical device designers and manufacturers have many special needs that 3D printing can help meet.
3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, is slowly making the leap from a method of making prototypes to one that can also make functional parts. But even in its current state, doctors and biomedical engineers can make good use of 3D printing in a wide variety of links in the medical-device value chain, according to Stratasys, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printers and a presenter at the MDTX Show.
For medical R&D. 3D printing does live up to its original name of rapid prototyping. It lets biomedical engineers move more quickly from design to physical object and from verification to validation, and then the final design. They can mock up a non-working version to test the fit and form of instruments and implants. In many instances, 3D printing also lets them build functional parts for testing. The prototypes are created quickly compared to previous times when they were hand-crafted by skilled modelers. This speeds up the design phase by letting the engineering team go quickly through several iterations on a design, incrementally improving it or rejecting different approach. Prototypes can also be given to physicians for feedback, and they intuitively understand 3D prototype faster than by trying to understand how a 2D model on a computer screen will look and feel.
Low-cost, 3D-printed robotic prosthetics have been developed by students at the University of Manchester that could provide a much cheaper alternative for amputees.
The hand’s joints are all fully posable with each individual finger and the thumb being able to move as well as make a fist.
The functionality of the hand allows its user to do simple everyday tasks such as picking up items, eating using a knife and fork, typing and clicking a mouse or opening doors. It can even play rock-paper-scissors.
The students built the hand for just £307 and reckon they can make it even cheaper. In comparison, an advanced robotic prosthetic limb currently on the market can start at approximately £25,000, going up to £60,000 if bought privately.
A trauma center in the Netherlands is using 3D printing technologies to improve the treatment of trauma patients, especially those who are admitted with bone fractures. The technology is being explored at the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Ziekenhuis (ETZ) trauma center by a team of trauma surgeons and researchers.
At the ETZ, one of 11 trauma centers in the Netherlands, PhD candidate Lars Brouwers is testing the effectiveness of 3D printing for trauma treatment. He has been tasked with the job of transforming medical scans of bone fractures into patient-specific 3D printed models. The 3D printed bones are then being used as pre-surgical aids for doctors and as explanatory models for patients.
Brouwers, along with ETZ trauma surgeons Mike Bemelman, MD and Koen Lansink, MD, believe that physical 3D printed models can offer surgeons a better and clearer understanding of a patient’s injury than 3D models visualized on a 2D screen.
From Charles Goulding at 3dprint.com
I had the privilege of attending a two-day Future of 3D Printing in Medicine and Dentistry conference on January 22nd and 23rd in Washington, D.C. at the Army and Navy Club. The Additive Manufacturing Strategies summit was sponsored by SmarTech Markets Publishing and 3DPrint.com.
3D Printing Medical Devices
Day one was entitled 3D Printed Medical Devices. The opening keynote speaker was Lee Dockstader, Director of Vertical Market Development at HP Inc., whose thorough presentation set the stage for the entire conference. Dockstader wants to develop additive manufacturing in industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Dental, Life Sciences, Consumer and Retail.
Scott Dunham, Vice President of Research at SmarTech Markets Publishing, gave a comprehensive presentation that was particularly informative on the large production volumes occurring with certain non regulated low entry barrier products. The consensus estimate is that 300,000 low barrier medical devices are now 3D printed per day. Dr. Roger Narayan, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UNC, gave a detailed presentation on the technical and regulatory aspects of additive medical markets. 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize business models and provides access to custom and functional prosthetic and orthotic medical devices.
Where you live should not determine whether you live or die, to quote Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, but, sadly, it often does. I was reminded of Bono’s phrase as I was reading about the contribution that Silicon Valley–based 3D-printing technology company Carbon (Redwood City, CA) made to the development of a low-cost, easy-to-use in vitro diagnostic (IVD) device to test for tuberculosis (TB).
Of the 10 million people that contract TB globally each year, more than 40% go undiagnosed or unreported, the vast majority of whom live in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. To address this issue in countries with limited healthcare infrastructures, the Global Good Fund (Bellevue, WA) got to work. A collaboration between Intellectual Ventures (IV; Bellevue, WA), a private enterprise involved in the development and licensing of intellectual property, and Bill Gates, the Global Good Fund spearheaded the development of an easy-to-use, affordable early TB diagnostic device. Carbon brought its expertise to the project, which resulted in the manufacture of hundreds of these devices for use in field trials.
South African biotech startup Akili Labs has developed FieldLab, an accurate, affordable and portable 3D printed diagnostics lab that can cost as little as $1,500, or one-tenth of similar equipment.
The FieldLab was created by Akili Labs co-founders and Rhodes University Biotechnology Innovation Centre (RUBIC) graduate students Charles Faul and Lucas Lotter. Their aim is to give doctors and scientists a rapid and accurate means of identifying disease outbreaks on the spot.
The FieldLab in a box
FieldLab is a rapid field-testing “lab-in-a-box.” It allows medical professionals in remote areas and conflict zones to access equipment typically found in state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories. By testing for certain viruses, bacteria, and fungi on site, they can quickly identify an outbreak of disease and take the necessary measures before it spreads and becomes an epidemic.
3D printing offers “a tantalizing step toward changing the manufacturing processes” for personalised medicines says a US FDA scientist.