26 Mar 3DMed will soon come to a successful end
With the concerted efforts of the 17 project partners and 14 observer partners, the Interreg 2 Seas project 3DMed is now nearing its end by 31 March 2022. Despite the unexpected disturbances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the past three years and a half, the following three objectives have been achieved.
- Streamlining and integration: to streamline the various steps of the 3D manufacturing process and integrate the data flows with pre-planning and post-operative evaluation;
- Technology development: advance the TRL of metallic, composite and polymeric 3D printed medical devices;
- Validation: demonstrate the superior performance and ascertain the clinical benefits of the 3D printed medical device.
A streamlined, fast, cost-effective software platform (semi-automated) has been established from acquisition of patient data to 3D printing of patient-specific medical devices. The platform has been validated in four demonstration cases of prosthetic and orthotic devices, i.e., cast replacement, hand brace, transtibial socket and scoliosis with respect to form, fit and function. In addition, 3D printed miniaturised medical instruments for ophtalmological surgery, i.e., trocar and vitrectome – another two demonstration cases, have been tested in ex-vivo porcine eye, thereby validating the technology applied to high-precision, tight-tolerance medical instruments. In addition, 3D printed patient-specific surgical guide for K-wire fixation during hand reconstruction surgery has been evaluated in human cadavers and its clinical value in terms of high precision and short surgery time has been demonstrated.
By 31 March 2022, 87 deliverables will have been completed together with 5 outputs:
- Data transfer protocols to link image acquisition, design and printing of the device;
- Streamlined, fast, cost-effective software platform to connect design and production of 3D printed devices with clinical evaluation (pre- and post-operative);
- Functionalised, 3D printable polymeric, composites and metallic implants supporting bone reconstruction;
- Six demonstrators validating the superior performance of 3D printed medical devices;
- Two clinical trials validating the clinical benefits of 3D printed surgical instruments.
Throughout the project, the project website and social media platforms such as LinkedIn have been utilized to inform the general public about the progress of the project and its results. In the efforts to reach out to the target groups (i.e., hospitals, 3D printing service bureaus, software houses, medical device and instrument industry, and insurance companies), four territorial workshops have been held:
- Workshop in France: 4 presentations; 21 participants; >700 visitors
- Workshop in the Netherlands: 7 presentations; 70 participants and >300 visitors
- Workshop in the United Kingdom: 5 presentations; 40 participants
- Workshop in Belgium: 4 presentations; 83 views of the videos
By the time of writing this newsletter, the final cross-border event, live and online, has been well prepared with 6 oral presentations given by project partners and an observer partner. The booth at the 3D Medical Printing Series Conference is expected to receive many visitors.
In addition, the project results have been disseminated through the following means of communication:
- 12 peer-reviewed journal publications
- 10 poster presentations at European or international conferences
- 9 oral presentations at European or international conferences
- 1 PhD thesis completed + 7 PhD theses in preparation
- 2 project videos
Obviously, such magnificent results would have been achieved with the strong support of the Joint Secretariat and territorial facilitators. The 3DMed consortium is grateful for this support and will carry the technology further to high TRL through different avenues towards technology uptake in the forthcoming years so as to benefit the patients, clinicians and hospitals and to create societal impact.