3D printing is poised to transform the medical device industry, according to several players in the space who participated in a recent FDAnews webinar.
Simulation and modeling using 3D printing are “really at the forefront of the precision medicine revolution,” said Daniel Matlis, founder and president of Axendia.
To date FDA has cleared more than 85 applications for 3D-printed medical devices which span product lines such as prosthetics and implants, said Matlis, who moderated the webinar, titled When it Comes to 3D Printing, the Future is Already Here: Are You Ready for the Precision Medicine Revolution?
Though 3D printing was born in the 1980s, recent years have seen significant advances. The dental industry embraced it first, using it to make printed braces, sometimes onsite — think Invisalign.
Now companies are using it to design and custom make medical devices, and making 3D models of a patient’s anatomy to enable surgeons to perform practice runs of a surgery before opening the patient up, thus reducing time in the operating room and improving outcomes, said Matlis. The emerging area is called patient-specific preoperative planning.
This use of 3D printing is already helping the medical device industry speed up the product development lifecycle, said Thomas Marchand, co-founder and CEO of BIOMODEX, a tech startup that develops 3D printed surgical simulators from CT scans for surgery planning.
It’s “de-risking the operation,” choosing the best medical device for every patient, and training the physician to position the device the right way every time, he said.
The process also assists with training for a new device, and provides clinical study support.
“We can simulate. We can provide synthetic organs for the physicians to train on the day before the operation,” said Marchand, whose company is part of the 3D Experience Lab, a startup accelerator driven by Dassault Systems. — Suz Redfern