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Hydrogels in 3D bioprinting May Lead to Organ Printing

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 22 patients die each day in need of an organ transplant because the demand for organs far outpaces the supply. If the compelling idea of producing 3D printed organs is realized many lives could be saved.   A big challenge in this field is to produce printable material that can support cells and is also permeable to nutrients. A hydrogel is a type of synthetic cross-linked polymer that is highly water absorbent. Hydrogels are commonly

3D Printing Makes Rib Implants Less Prone to Complications

The removal and reconstruction of a large part of the chest wall is often required to treat malignant tumors that occur in the cartilage or bone of the ribcage. However, the potential for complications in these types of surgeries is unacceptably high—the overall complication rate is over 40% and the 30-day mortality rate is up to 17%. Many of the complications are respiratory-related.   A team of doctors at Asturias University Central Hospital, in Asturias, Spain suspected that the patients’ d

Upcoming National Week of Making features medical 3D printing

Two years ago, the White House declared a week in mid-June the “national week of making,” to coincide with the DC Maker Faire. Since then, they have continued this tradition, providing funding and initiatives to encourage hands-on STEM education. This year’s national week of making starts on Friday, June 17-23 and DC’s Maker Faire is June 19th and 20th.   At last year’s events, President Obama said, “Makers and builders and doers— of all ages and backgrounds—have pushed our country forward, de

BiologicModels uses 3D Printing to put Protein Models in Customers' Hands

Casey Steffen has a background in video game animation and a Master’s degree in biological visualization but he describes himself as a “medical illustrator and a type I diabetic” in the video introduction to his RocketHub crowdfunding page, that raised money to support a project to make educational models of the protein hemoglobin, that has 4,659 atoms. The proposal was completely funded two years ago.   The project addresses confusion surrounding the common hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test. Unlike

Medical 3D Printing for Skull Surgery

A company in Brazil called Artis Tecnologia has developed medical 3D printing technologies to aid in skull resection surgery. They demonstrated their techniques on a volunteer patient who received surgery for free at the university hospital of the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). They published an article about it two weeks ago in the International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery.   Their technologies allow the removal of a skull tumor and the implantation of a pro

Upcoming SME conference “Building Evidence for Medical 3D Printing Applications in Medicine” will be forum to discuss future of medical 3D printing

SME is holding an inaugural conference in about a week and a half, titled “Building Evidence for 3D Printing Applications in Medicine.” It’s sponsored by Materialize, a company that develops software for 3D printing and produces 3D-printed projects for researchers, clinicians, and consumers.   This is a crucial topic for doctors, patients, and the medical 3D printing industry. 3D printing will not be widely accepted in the clinic without compelling, systematic evidence that it is better than e

3D Bioprinting Vessels for Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering can't expand into three dimensions as long as cells can't access oxygen and nutrients via blood vessels. This remains a big challenge for the printable organ and tissue engineering communities.   Monica Moya and Elizabeth Wheeler, biomedical engineers at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, are working on a way to solve this “plumbing problem,” as Moya puts it, using 3D bioprinting.   Moya has previously developed microfluidic devices to test the effect of mechanical

Innovation in 3D-printed Surgical Models for Brain Tumors

Brain tumors located at the base of the skull are some of the most challenging to treat, because of their proximity to the brain stem, as well as important nerves and blood vessels in the head and neck (Johns Hopkins). The brain stem maintains breathing and heartbeat, the basics of life. Tumors found here are known as “skull base tumors” based on their location, not the type of tumor.   A group of doctors at Toho University Omori Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan, hope to improve surgical models

Cardiologists hope to predict heart attacks with the aid of imaging, computer models, and 3D-printing

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA and other developed countries. Imagine the number of lives that could be saved if doctors could predict heart attacks before they happen.   Most heart attacks are caused by a buildup of cholesterol and triglycerides (called plaques) inside heart arteries that rupture, form blood clots, and block the artery.   But not all plaques rupture and not all plaque ruptures cause disease. An Australian team of medical doctors and mechanical engine

“Miracle Kitten” Becomes Next Prospective Patient for Custom 3D-Printed Implants

Cassidy, a tuxedo kitten with a white mustache and socks, lost his hind limbs from below the knee at birth. When he was found starving after nine weeks, his wounds infected with E. coli, the emergency vet recommended euthanasia. But Shelly Roche refused to give up on him. She runs the TinyKittens rescue operated out of Fort Langley, B.C., Canada, that specializes in lost causes. She nursed him back to health, with the Internet cheering him on.   This video shows Cassidy walking with a leash a

Many 3D Printed Hands Make Light Work

The rugged, replaceable, customizable, lightweight, and low cost nature of 3D printing technology make it ideal to make prosthetics for children, who quickly outgrow and/or wear them out. E-nable is an online community of volunteers, parents, makers, and medical professionals committed to providing 3D printed prosthetics to children who need them. Dr. Gloria Gogola, a pediatric hand surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Houston collaborated with E-nable and volunteer bioengineering stud

3D Printing Used to Mimic Flowers to Understand Flower Mimicry

Researchers from the Department of Biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, have come up with an innovative use of 3D printing to study the biology of flower mimicry.   One of their models was the “Dracula Orchid” (Dracula effleurii). Despite its vampiric name, the flower is not carnivorous. They attract flies as pollinators, not food. Dracula here means “little dragon,” referring to their appearance.   Bitty Roy, the principle investigator on the study, described the pollination proce
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