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News and updates about medical 3D-printing

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Els

heartchip_605 (WYSS).jpg

Harvard University researchers have 3D printed the first organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensors. This new technology could revolutionize the biomedical research field, which has relied on expensive and time-consuming animal studies and cell cultures for decades.

Organs-on-chips, or microphysiological systems (MPS), are microchips that recapitulate the microarchitecture and functions of living human organs in vitro. The Wyss Institute at Harvard University explains MPS as follows: “Each individual organ-on-chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick that contains hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells interfaced with a human endothelial cell-lined artificial vasculature, and mechanical forces can be applied to mimic the physical microenvironment of living organs.”  Typically, MPS are made in clean rooms using a complex, multi-step lithographic process. Collecting data requires microscopy or high-speed cameras.

What makes this new MPS different, is the simplified manufacturing process and the integrated sensors. Both improvements were accomplished with multi-material 3D printing. The researchers designed six “inks” that enable integration of sensors. The researchers successfully 3D printed a heart-on-a-chip with integrated sensors. They then used the heart-on-a-chip in various studies, including drug responses.  The integrated sensors enable continuous data collection, allowing scientists to study gradual changes over longer periods of time.

Read the research published in Nature Materials or watch this video to learn more:

 

 

 

 

Photo and video credit: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

Els

3D%20hart_v02.JPG?itok=Yfcun5oTCardiologists in Aalst, Belgium, 3D printed the hearts of two patients for preprocedural planning in the treatment of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

There are different types of arrhythmia and treatment thereof varies. Some conditions don’t require any treatment, while others call for medication or surgical procedures. One minimally invasive procedure is catheter ablation. During this procedure, a catheter delivers high-frequency electrical energy to a small area of tissue inside the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy scars the tissue, thus destroying the electrical pathway that causes the abnormality. Typically, each pathway needs to be disabled individually.

Drs. Tom De Potter and Peter Geelen developed a new, more efficient ablation technique to treat arrhythmia. They now can treat the affected tissue in its entirety, rather than pathway by pathway. Given that everyone’s heart anatomy is different and the risks involved in using a new technique, they had their patients’ hearts 3D printed from a CT scan to practice, customize and perfect their technique.

For updates on news and new blog entries, follow us on Twitter at @Embodi3D.

Photo credit: http://www.hartcentrumaalst.be/nieuws

Els

bespoke-braces-scoliosis-closeup4.jpg Last week, 3D Systems announced the successful completion of its pilot program for a 3D-printed brace for children and young adults with scoliosis (curved spine). As with other 3D-printed braces, the “Bespoke Brace” is personalized for each patient. In a first step, the patient is fitted with a prototype brace. Once this prototype has been customized, it is digitized to create a digital reference underlay. Next, the brace is further adjusted digitally and finally 3D-printed using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology, resulting in optimal comfort (it breathes and is light weight), flexibility and durability. As an added bonus, it is more stylish than existing braces on the market.

For updates on news and new blog entries, follow us on Twitter at @Embodi3D

Photo credit: 3D Systems.com

Els

blog-0546981001402464065.pngWe have seen some interesting articles and posts on the amazing things 3D-printing can do for rare medical conditions. But have you, like me, been wondering how this promising technology can benefit you, personally? How it can benefit lots of people, rather than just a few with serious medical conditions? Here is an example: you can have an ankle brace 3D-printed that fits your ankle perfectly! Significantly reduce the risk of a sprained ankle when running, playing soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, hockey, badminton, squash, etc.

EXO-L, a company in The Netherlands, has developed an ankle brace that you attach to the outside of your shoe. It sits over your Achilles tendon and allows you to move your foot up and down freely but comes into action when you are at risk of spraining your ankle. The process starts with a 3D-scan of your ankle, which is then sent to state-of-the art 3D-printers.

To make it even more appealing, the company lets you choose from 9 different colors and you can have your name or logo inscribed. The cost is EUR199.

Sadly, the EXO-L External Ankle Ligament appears to only be available in The Netherlands at this time.

For updates on news and new blog entries, follow us on Twitter at @Embodi3D.

Photo credit: EXO-L.com