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What Can 3D Printed Human Livers Do For Medicine?

The 3D bioprinting company Organovo started mass producing functioning miniature models of the human liver more than a year ago. (Did you miss that news?) Pharmaceutical companies are all over the product and demand is high. Each liver Organovo prints is about the size of the tip of a ball point pin. While they wouldn’t be much use for transplants, the livers are a great facsimile of the real deal, even taking on the roughly hexagonal shape that the cells in our livers also create. But what c

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University of Nottingham Research Lab Seeks Practical Applications for 3D Printing

The Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at the University of Nottingham has just unveiled a new research lab, thanks to a £2.7 Million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Promising Research Goals Equipped with the latest and greatest 3D printing equipment, the lab’s researchers hope to test new ideas and develop more practical applications for 3D printing. Their first order of business, in partnership with the School of Pharmacy,

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Supervet Discusses the Ethics of 3D Printing Technology for Veterinary Medicine

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is one of the most prominent doctors of veterinary medicine in the UK. Featured on the show The Supervet on Channel 4, Fitzpatrick performs live-saving operations for people’s beloved pets, often making use of advanced technologies like 3D printing in his procedures.   Despite his skills, Fitzpatrick says whether or not to keep animals alive is a moral decision, more than a scientific assessment. He says that 3D printing and other technological advancements have made

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Scientists 3D Print Liver Tissue for Drug Screening

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego led a team in developing life-like liver tissue with the help of 3D printing.   The model closely approximates a real human liver’s structure and function, and could be applied to drug screening and disease modeling research.   The study was published in the February 8th edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   The researchers hope that the new liver will help save pharmaceutical companies time and resources, making

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Researchers Promise Biomedical Uses for New 4D Printing Technology

Since 3D Printing became a widely-used technology in the past decade, its impact on the Biomedical field has been astronomical. As documented on this blog and elsewhere, 3D printing technology has enabled cheaper and more efficient prosthetics, given doctors opportunities to practice complicated surgeries, helped researchers take the first steps towards printing organs, repair damaged nerves, create skin grafts, among many other life-saving advancements. While we can barely keep up with all the

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Researchers Develop 3D-Printing Technique to Make Realistic Ears

An otolaryngology resident and bioengeneering student at the University of Washington have teamed up to create a low-cost cartilage model for surgical practice using 3D printing. The innovation will allow surgeons to perfect the construction of realistic ears.   Surgeons approach the task of fixing a missing or underdeveloped ear by harvesting rib cartilage from the child and carving it into the shape of an ear. The rib cartilage is limited, and surgeons try to harvest as little as possible.

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On the Road to Fully Functional Bone Replacements

Whether 3D printed or not, bone replacements have always posed several problems for patients. For one, if the patient is a child, they will quickly grow out of whatever artificial implant they may receive. And even if the patient is an adult, they still need a bone replacement that will adapt to changes in their bodies as they age, just like a real piece of the human body. Luckily for everyone, researchers at several organizations are investigating new ways to create the perfect bone replacement

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Northeastern’s New Method to 3D Print Medical Devices Tailored To Babies

Randall Erb and colleagues from Northeastern’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering have pioneered a new 3D printing method to make patient-specific medical devices.   The method, which appeared in the October 23rd issue of Nature Communications, uses magnetic fields to shape composite materials in a 3D printer. The printer mixes plastics and ceramics into patient-specific products, which could mean an end to ill-fitting medical equipment for infants.   A Prevalent Problem  

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NIH’s Public Exchange Encourages Sharing of Biomedical 3D Printing Knowledge

For doctors and scientists interested in sharing their 3D modeled research or building on the work of others, the National Institutes of Health’s 3D Print Exchange is the place to go. Since its launch in June of last year, the Exchange has help encourage collaboration in scientific discoveries and promoted STEM Education with the simple tool of information availability. Information at Everyone’s Fingertips The government-sponsored site contains models useful for scientists and doctors alike,

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New Ways to Help Children in Need of Prosthetic Hands Find 3D Printers

Through the internet, news, and word of mouth, people are finding ways to help children gain access to 3D printed hands. A prime example is E-Nable, an online community founded by Jon Schull that aims to help children in need of prosthetic hands connect with a people who own 3D printers. The site is made up of volunteers; mainly designers, prosthetists, and 3D printing enthusiasts with access to a printer, who work together to design and produce prosthetics for children who are missing a hand or

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New Research Solves the Problem of 3D Printing Soft Body Parts

3D printing has been used for years to create prosthetics, but the technology has faced challenges in printing soft tissues. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a solution that now makes soft tissue printing a possibility for medical use.   A Supportive Goo   Led by biomedical engineer Adam Feinberg, the team developed a supporting bath of goo with a similar consistency to mayonnaise, which allows them to 3D print soft biological structures without risking them collapsin

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New Report Shows Promising Growth for the 3D Printing Healthcare Market

The global 3D printing healthcare market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.2% up through the year 2020, according to a new report, World 3D Printing Healthcare Market-Opportunities and Forecasts, just published by Allied Market Research.   The report found many different factors that are influencing market growth, including breakthrough technologies. Portable, solar-powered, multi-material, and full color 3D printers make the technology easy to use anywhere.  

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New 3D Printed Tool Changes the Game for ACL Reconstruction

ACL injuries are a big concern for high performance athletes — in the NFL alone, there are an average of 53 ACL injuries per year. In some cases, the injury requires surgical treatment and a lot of time off. For more severe injuries, it’s career-ending.   But the ultimate consequences of injuries of the anterior cruciate ligaments is probably about to change, with the help of a new 3D printed surgical device that helps surgeons better reconstruct partial or full ACL tears and reduce the chance

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New 3D Printed Microscope Could Help Fight Disease in Central Africa

Bioengineers with UC Berkley just published an article with Science Translation Medicine about a breakthrough technology that can easily detect certain diseases using a 3D printed microscope and a smartphone. The development could mean the difference between life and death for people in hard to reach areas of the world where hospitals and blood analysis equipment are few and far between. The CellScope Loa Using an FDM 3D printer, lead author Daniel Fletcher and his colleagues printed a relati

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MIT Researchers Use MRI Scans to 3D Print Heart Models in Hours

Researchers at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital have created a method to use MRI scans and print physical models of an organ in only a few hours. While 3D printing organ models is not a new technology, the speed of the new method means that surgeons can use the models to plan delicate and time-sensitive surgeries.   The system involves a unique computer algorithm that increases the precision of MRI scans by 10. MIT researchers partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital physicist Medhi Moghari

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MHOX Expects to Develop 3D Printed Eye by 2027 to Cure Blindness, and More

MHOX, a generative design studio focused on exploring new options in human body extensions and systems, has recently announced its plans to develop a fully functional 3D printed eye that could replace the faulty organ for blind people as soon as 2027. Originally a confidential project, MHOX chose to disclose some details about their progress and plans after Will.i.am made controversial comments warning people about the potential for scientists to eventually 3D print entire humans. According to

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L’Oreal Plans to 3D Print Human Skin: An End to Animal Testing?

It would seem that an end to animal testing by cosmetic companies is in our sights, as French cosmetics giant L’Oreal announces plans to 3D Print human skin. What comes as news to many is that the company has actually been in the business of growing human skin since the early ’80s, and a new partnership with Organovo is only the latest step to fast-track the production of skin samples for cosmetic testing. Growing Skin L’Oreal runs a lab out of Lyon, France where they currently grow human sk

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Implanting A 3D-Printed Vertebrae: Another World-First Surgery Success Story

Every year, the number of world-first surgeries with 3D printed materials is on the rise.   And a doctor in Australia recently added another success story to the list after implanting a 3D-printed vertebrae into a man’s spine.   Last year, neurosurgeon Ralph Mobbs of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, met a patient suffering from chordoma, a difficult form of cancer.   The man was in his 60s, and the cancer had caused a tumor to grow in a very difficult area to access. Hobbs told M

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How 3D Printing is Streamlining Forensic Research

When it’s time to present forensic evidence to a judge and jury, prosecutors have traditionally relied on photographs and other visual methods to display evidence. Today, forensic anthropologists are embracing a much more detailed visual aid—with a little help from 3D Printing.   3D Printing for Forensic Evidence   In the case of homicide, there’s no better way to clearly present evidence to a jury than by showing them the actual bones in question, but that’s not considered best practice for

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How 3D Printing is Aiding New Discoveries in Human Evolution

It’s easy to think of the benefits of 3D printing for teaching anthropology. The new technology allows professors to digitalize fragile fossil and bone samples for classroom use—creating a great visual teaching aid. As it turns out, 3D printing has considerable benefits for anthropologists outside of the classroom as well. For one, increasing access to fossil samples for scientists is putting collaborative research on the fast track. Digitizing fossils and making the files available to universi

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Groundbreaking Complete Skull Reconstruction Saves 3-year-old’s Life

Han Han was born with a rare disorder called congenital hydrocephalus, which caused her head to grow four times larger than was normal. At three years old, she wasn’t expected to live much longer unless something was done about the condition. Doctors in China, her home country, came to the rescue by developing a titanium mesh skull with the help of a 3D printer. Surgeons at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province were successfully able to remove most of Han Han’s skull and replace it with

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Giving the Dog a Bone With the Help of 3D Printing

There’s no denying that 3D printing has had a major impact on the healthcare industry, but it’s not just people who are benefiting.   3D printing is already helping veterinarians make major improvements in the healthcare treatment of our furry friends.   3D Printing Is Improving Animal Diagnosis   3D printing began as an expensive technology that only the top industries could make use of, but it’s quickly evolved into an affordable tool for a wide variety of applications, and in some case

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Doctors May Soon 3D Print Micro Organs

For many, 3D printers seem like a fun tool to print plastic trinkets. But thanks to the unique properties of embryonic stem cells, the machines may one day be used by doctors to print micro-organs to save the lives of transplant patients.   Embryonic stem cellls come from human embryos, and have the unique ability to develop into any type of cell the body needs, including brain tissue, organ cells, or bones. That’s why they have long been a research focus for regenerative medicine aimed at rep

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Derby The Dog Gets A 3D-Printed Leg Upgrade

By this point, Derby is a well known character in the 3D-printing world. He became famous after getting a pair of 3D-printed legs last years so he could walk straight and sit like a regular dog. But soon it became time to design him a new pair.   3D Systems, a South Carolina-based company, created his first pair, and designed them to be close to the ground so Derby could get used to them without hurting himself falling down. Their initial plans were to upgrade him to a taller version of the o

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Conjoined Twins Separation Surgery Made Possible with 3D Modeling

For the first time ever, 3D modeling has aided doctors in the successful separation of conjoined twins. Sisters Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith were born last April to John and Elysse Mata. The girls, now ten months old, shared a chest wall, lungs, heart linings, diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon, and pelvis, all of which needed to be carefully separated by doctors. Even before the surgery the babies were already a miracle—of the roughly 200,000 conjoined twins born every year, between 40 and

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