Relief through 3D printing

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/6033/20150503/take-a-deep-breath-patients-find-relief-through-3d-printing.htm

TAKE A DEEP BREATH: PATIENTS FIND RELIEF THROUGH 3D PRINTING

3D technology is nothing new to medicine. For years, physicians have utilized ‘computerized tomography,’ known as CT scans, to create three-dimensional images of the human body. But now, 3D technology is moving being diagnosis to actual treatment through the use of 3D printing. And for patients suffering from the rare condition, tracheobronchomalacia, 3D printers can mean the difference between life and death, or should I say, life and breath.

Patients with tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) are born with weak tracheas, that all-important passageway that funnels air to the lungs. The condition affects about one in 2,000 children and in extreme cases, the trachea collapses. As you can imagine, the prognosis for such patients is grim. Such was the case for Kaiba Gionfriddo, a beautiful boy born with brown curls, matching eyes, and the unfortunate condition, TBM.

Fortunately for Kaiba, researchers from CS Mott Children’s Hospital, located on the sprawling campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, received approval to try out a new technology – 3D printing – to construct a splint that would support his weakened trachea until a time when it could support itself. They did this by customizing a flexible splint that fit around Kaiba’s trachea, providing support as he breathed, coughed, and sneezed. And most importantly, the devise was constructed of biomaterials that flexed to accommodate the rapid growth of an infant, and it will even eventually be resorbed by his body.

Kaiba was only three months old when the device was implanted. He was one of three infants suffering from severe TBM to be fitted with the flexible splints. Dr. Glenn Green, an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, led Kaiba’s case and is part of the team whose ground breaking technology appears in this month’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

And tracheal splints are just the tip of the iceberg, as researchers continue to explore a growing partnership between 3D technology and medicine. The actual and potential uses of 3D printing in medicine include building customized prosthetics and implants, pharmaceutical research and drug delivery, and the fabrication of tissues and organs. As for the tracheal splints, they can be designed to fit the unique dimensions of each patient, constructed of biomaterials that accommodate growth and dissolve over time, and can even be produced onsite using 3D printing wherever patients in need may be. The medical applications of 3D printing are limitless.

Kaiba is now a healthy, thriving three-year-old. His mom recently summed up their experience saying that “It was scary knowing he was the first child to ever have this procedure, but it was our only choice and it saved his life.”

sciencetimes.com

May 03, 2015 05:30 PM EDT

First 3D printed dishwasher!

Don’t You Just Love Technology?

http://goo.gl/P2tCfG

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If you are an engineer and you have not yet had the opportunity to tinker around with CAD software and 3D print your designs, you are severely missing out. 3D printing has opened a whole new realm of possibilities for designers and engineers all over the globe. The technology allows these individuals to design or engineer a product, and then bring those products into the tangible world in a matter of hours. If 3D printing doesn’t greatly speed up the innovation and invention process in the coming years, nothing will. While many people look at desktop 3D printers as simply being toys for hobbyists, those individuals with unique ideas see it as a tool for bringing their ideas to life.

For one 22-year-old Swedish engineering student, named Filip Sjöö, 3D printing allowed him to come up with an invention unlike anything we have seen before.

“I got my 3D-printer for Christmas,” Sjöö tells 3DPrint.com. “It’s a Prusa i3, and it’s probably the best Christmas gift ever.”

When most ordinary people get their first 3D printer, they experiment by printing out simple little objects such as combs, mini Yoda figures, and other figurines. Sjöö, however, decided to jump right into an engineering project that he thought would be fascinating to create. He decided to 3D print a fully functional water-powered dishwasher.

“First I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted do to something that was powered by the water from the tap,” Sjöö tells us. “The first thing I did, was try to figure out how to attach the thing to the tap. The best way to do this was probably to use the threads on the tap.”

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After he had measured the threads, he began searching around the internet for a standard CAD file that would fit onto his sink’s tap. Unfortunately though, he was unable to find anything, anywhere with just the right measurements. This left Sjöö with only one other option — create his own.

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Using SolidWorks, he began designing his tap attachment, making sure that his threads did not exceed an angle of 45 degrees.

“The maximum angle you can print without supports is approximately 45 degrees,” Sjöö explains. “Because of this, I had to make a custom design. I was not sure that I would succeed in printing functional threads, as the pitch was only 1 mm, but surprisingly it worked very well after some failiures.”

Now it was off to the fun part. Sjöö had to devise a plan to fabricate a creation that could actually wash dishes effectively. The first idea that popped into his head was creating an internal water turbine, which he thought would be extremely efficient. However, he soon came to the realization that it was very difficult to do this without using any seals. Because of the high pressure of the water from his tap, many leaks formed, causing a larger mess than anyone would want to deal with when washing dishes.

Sjöö is an engineer though, and engineers are trained to come up with multiple solutions to the same problem. So this is exactly what he did. He devised a different plan. He would create an external turbine, which may be even cooler than the initial internal iteration, since it would be visible to onlookers.

“The rest of the CAD modeling was done in just a couple of hours,” he tells us. “The gear ratios on the dishwasher were based on well grounded guesses about the flow rate of the water and some basic calculations. My goal was the make the brush go back and forth one time every second or so.”

Once the design was complete, it was on to 3D printing the parts. Sjöö admits that there were a few failures at first which required him to modify some of the parts, but all in all he says the process went very well.

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After printing had finished and the parts were just as Sjöö had intended them to be, he assembled them, hooked his newly built device up to his water faucet, and turned it on. The brush, which is not 3D printed, is held onto the dishwasher using zip ties. As the water runs through the turbine, it causes the brush to move back and forth at a steady rate. While Sjöö admits that it probably isn’t going to be a product that many people, if any, are interested in purchasing, he never intended for it to be more than a “funny little project that [he] had to do.”

Sjöö is currently working on finishing up his engineering degree. In his spare time when he isn’t experimenting with his 3D printer, he runs a company that he co-founded, called Headface, where he is the designer.

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What do you think about this intuitively designed device created by Filip Sjöö? Discuss in the 3D Printed Dishwasher forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | FEBRUARY 20, 2015

3D printing and medicine – ethical debate

An Interesting Ethical Debate About 3D Prinnting and Medicine.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/…/11/4161675.htm

3D printed titanium heel

3D printing can offer great benefits in medicine, but it also raises a number of ethical questions as the technology develops, says Susan Dodds.

Three-dimensional printing technologies have the genuine potential to improve medical treatments for conditions ranging from bone cancer and arthritis to glaucoma and hearing loss.

Already 3D bioprinting allows orthopaedic surgeons to print artificial bone from a scan of the patient, printing existing surgical materials to precisely the right shape to replace missing or damaged bone. For example, the technique has been recently used to create skull implants for people with head trauma and a titanium heel (pictured right) to replace heel bone that had been eaten away by cancer.

In the future, 3D printing technologies may be used together with advances in stem cell research to print living bone cells from patients’ own cells or functioning organs for transplant (such as kidneys or hearts).

3D bioprinting is one of the latest developments in ‘personalised medicine’.

The technology could enable doctors to tailor treatments to individual patients, rather than developing a treatment that works well for most patients with that condition.

But 3D bioprinting also raises a number of ethical questions that will need to be considered as these technologies develop.

Three ethical issues that are raised are: justice in access to health care, testing for safety and efficacy, and whether these technologies should be used to enhance the capacity of individuals beyond what is ‘normal’ for humans.

Justice and access

One major concern about the development of personalised medicine is the cost of treatments. Until recently it has been thought that advances in personalised medicine go hand-in-hand with increasing disparities in health between rich and poor. Should these treatments only be available to those who can pay the additional cost? If so, then those patients who lack financial resources may not receive effective treatments that others can access for a range of serious conditions.

Personalised medicine is most closely associated with research in genomics and stem cell therapies.

Advantages of personalising medicine are most obvious in cases where the condition affects patients in very different ways and standardised treatments offer imperfect benefits. For example, conditions affecting the growing bones of children are among those where personalising treatments, if these can be adapted to the rapidly changing bodies of children, can make a very big difference in the child’s comfort and capacity to participate in ordinary childhood activities and play.

Until recently, the cost and time required to provide a series of customised prostheses of different sizes for a child who has lost a leg to cancer, for example, has been prohibitive for many patients. 3D printing will bring down the time and cost of customising and producing prosthetic legs. In cases like that of Ben Chandler, printers can also be used for implants, which might avoid the need to amputate the original limb, even where significant bone loss has occurred.

The capacity to use 3D printing technology to substantially reduce the cost of prosthetics, or orthopaedic surgery to restore lost bone structures, means that this area of personalised medicine can avoid the criticism that personalised medicine inevitably increases the cost of health care and puts effective personalised treatments out of the reach of many patients.

Will 3D printing treatments be safe?

A second ethical concern about any new treatment, including the use of 3D printing, is how we can test that the treatment is safe and effective before it is offered as a clinical treatment.

In the case of 3D printing to replace bone, the materials used — for example titanium — are those already used for orthopaedic surgery, and have been tested for safety over a long period and with many patients, so it is unlikely that there are new risks from the materials.

In the future, 3D printing may be used in combination with stem cell derived cell lines.

This could lead to the development of printed functioning organs that can replace a patient’s damaged organ, but without the risk or rejection associated with donor organs, because it uses that patient’s own cells.

How can we know in advance that these treatments are safe? Unlike the case of developing a new drug, a stem cell therapy can’t be tested on a sizable number of healthy people prior to being tested on patients and then, finally, being made available as a standard treatment. The point of using a patient’s own stem cells is to tailor the treatment quite specifically to that patient, and not to develop a treatment that can be tested on anybody else.

Researchers combining 3D printing with personalised stem cell therapies beyond the experimental stage will need to develop new models for testing their treatments for safety and effectiveness.

Regulatory bodies that give approval for new treatments, such as Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), will also need to establish new standards of testing for regulatory approval before these treatments can become readily available.

This means that even if researchers were ready to print a functioning prosthetic organ, it will be quite some time before patients with kidney disease should expect to be offered a 3D printed prosthetic kidney that uses their stem cells as a routine treatment.

Human enhancement

The third issue is whether or not we should use 3D printing for human enhancement.

If the technology can be used to develop replacement organs and bones, couldn’t it also be used to develop human capacities beyond what is normal for human beings?

For example, should we consider replacing our existing bones with artificial ones that are stronger and more flexible, less likely to break; or improving muscle tissue so that it is more resilient and less likely to become fatigued, or implanting new lungs that oxygenate blood more efficiently, even in a more polluted environment?

The debate about human enhancement is familiar to the context of elite sport where athletes have sought to use medical technology to extend their speed, strength or endurance beyond what is ‘natural’, or what they are able to achieve without drugs or supplements. In that context use of performance enhancing drugs is considered to cheat other athletes, unbalancing the level playing field.

In the case of 3D bioprinting enhancement of human capacities could be associated with the military use of the technology and the idea that it would be an advantage if our soldiers were less susceptible to being wounded, fatigued or harmed in battle.

While it is clear that it would be preferable for military personnel to be less vulnerable to physical harm, the history of military technology suggests that 3D printing could lead to a new kind of arms race. Increasing the defences that soldiers have in the face of battle would lead to increasing the destructive power of weapons to overcome those defences. And in so doing, increasing the harm to which civilians are exposed.

In this way 3D printing may open up a new gap in the vulnerabilities of “enhanced” combatants and civilians, at a time when the traditional moral rules concerning warfare and legitimate targets is muddied by terrorism and insurgency.

These three points might just be scratching the surface of new, deeper ethical and social issues that will emerge as the technology progresses.

The future of 3D bioprinting applications holds the promise of better treatment while challenging communities to address emerging ethical questions.

ABC.NET.AU
by Professor Susan Dodds | 11 February 2015

3D printed organs for TV series Grey’s Anatomy!

A 3D Printed Heart and Liver Were Recently Featured on the Popular TV Series Grey’s Anatomy!

http://goo.gl/5AeOBh

Greys Anatomy 3d printer

Gray’s Anatomy, the textbook of human anatomy originally written by Henry Gray and illustrated by Henry Vandyke Carter, was widely regarded as the seminal work on the subject and it’s still revised and republished today.

Since its publication in 1858, it has served as a crucial guide to doctors and surgeons in their daily work, but it’s a safe bet that Gray and Carter didn’t see it coming that their work would one day influence hospital dramas like ABC’s hit “Grey’s Anatomy,” and less likely still that they’d foresee that show discovering 3D printing.

Now that 3D printing technology has reached into the operating theater,  the American consciousness, and even into living rooms in the heartland, Gray and Carter would surely be proud.

The doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial were featured using 3D printing in one episode from season 10 where Dr. Yang 3D prints a “portal vein,” and Dr. Grey attempts to 3D print a heart. In fact, at the end of that episode, Dr. Yang discovers that, on her trip to Switzerland, 3D printing is widely used by medical professionals there.

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One Dr. Burke goes as far as to say Dr. Yang’s dream is to build fully-functional, 3D printed hearts.

And the series is at it again with an appearance from a CubeX 3D printer which the Grey’s staff used to build a customized heart and liver model. The model of a patient’s heart and liver used on the show was designed and 3D printed by 3D Systems in conjunction with their entertainment division, Gentle Giant Studios, and it was printed by their medical solutions division,Medical Modeling.

Medical Modeling was built on the idea that medical imaging studies could be used for diagnosis and to drive clinical treatment, and they’ve developed surgical planning and clinical transfer tools. To date, the company has worked with surgeons around the world on tens of thousands of cases. They were also acquired by 3DS in April 2014, becoming part of the larger 3D printing revolution.

At this stage, engineering-based solutions for reconstructive surgical problemsare a part of the standard medical tool kit, and customized prosthetics are common.

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Medical Modeling says 3D printing is used in hospitals around the world for applications ranging from surgical pre-visualization to treatment planning and training.

To make the heart model, the team used a ProJet 660Pro, taking the idea from a photo of a simple sketch on a napkin to a fully-printed model in just four days.

3DS says the anatomically correct, full-color model needed to fit the script, appear life-like, and be fully 3D printable. The creation process took place through a number of design iterations during which the “Grey’s Anatomy” production team reviewed the models and provided feedback, and the Medical Modeling team used Geomagic Freeform software to create the finished product.

Now that prime-time television has embraced the medical uses of 3D printing, how long do you think it will be before patients are asking to see models to help them understand their treatment options? Let us know in the Grey’s Anatomy Medical 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | FEBRUARY 9, 2015

Help for animals – 3D printing

5 Brave Animals Benefiting from 3D Printing, Including TurboRoo the Chihuahua and Holly the Horse 🙂

http://goo.gl/jEOG0f

Animals helped by 3D printing

The customization enabled by 3D-printed parts has been celebrated for how it can advance medicine, from prosthetic limbs to better pacemakers. At the same time, it’s been hailed as a potentiallygreener approach to manufacturing. Not only can these designs be fabricated by anyone who has access to a 3D printer, thus reducing the need to ship specialized parts, this additive process can cut down on material waste.

The technology has also inspired animal lovers and veterinarians to help all kinds of creatures, from ducks to horses. On the following pages, we’ve collected heartwarming and innovative ways 3D technology is helping animals have better lives.

TREEHUGGER.COM
by Margaret Badore | January 7, 2015