Community-Based Personalized Healthcare: A Few Questions For Neurosurgeon Paul D’Urso

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tile_sydneyWhile it may be a bit hard to believe here in Cleveland where it’s still snowing (!), May is just around the corner. While May heralds spring on this side of the equator, Down Under they’re anticipating not just cooler weather, but a veritable blizzard — of news! Inside 3D Printing Sydney is drawing ever closer, with details and keynote speakers announced recently. Put on by Rising Media in conjunction with 3DR Holdings, the event is the latest for Australia in the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo series, which will see shows around the world this year.

Among the keynote speakers on this year’s agenda is Paul D’Urso, Neurosurgeon, Epworth Healthcare and Founder, Anatomics. Featured recently in Australia Unlimited, D’Urso is a neurosurgeon with incredible background in the medical field — and working toward integrating patient-specific 3D printing to better the options in personalized healthcare. You may also remember Anatomics from several historic achievements that have helped cancer patients, such as 3D printed titanium vertebrae in February, an incredible 3D printed titanium partial ribcage in September, and even saving a patient’s leg from amputation back in 2014.

australia unlimited paul durso

Paul D’Urso [Photo: Australia Unlimited]

At Inside 3D Printing Sydney, D’Urso will be speaking in a keynote entitled “Community Based Personalised Heatlhcare,” to be presented on day two of the conference, May 12th, 9:00-9:45 AM. D’Urso has some clearly incredible experience in this field, and I appreciated the recent opportunity to have him answer just A Few Questions For us about what we can expect to hear about from Sydney — and what the future of 3D printing in personalized healthcare might look like.

Can you fill us in on your background in the medical field?
I have been a doctor for 28 years and a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Epworth Healthcare since 2001. I perform around 500 operations per year. I enjoy being able to use Anatomics 3D printing technology on a day to day basis to improve the care of my patients and create innovations to assist all patients.
What initially led you to 3D technology as an area of interest for healthcare?
In 1991 I developed the idea to use 3D medical imaging to interface into stereolithography. I received a $1200 grant from my hospital and spent a year developing the bridge between the two new technologies and developed BioModelling. My success led me to enrol in a PhD and I spent the next 5 years optimising the technology of BioModelling and investigation the applications of the technology. Once I started to use BioModelling to help children with terrible deformities and conditions at the Mater Childrens Hospital in 1993 I became hooked’ on BioModelling technology and I have not stopped advocating its potential to change lives ever since.
In general, how do you see 3D printing performing in personalized healthcare over the next few years?
3D printing is a key component of personalised healthcare. Along with the internet, big data, wearable and implantable devices there will be a revolution in healthcare in the next decade. Off the shelf prosthetics and devices will be steadily replaced by patient specific ones. Efficiencies, cost containment and improved outcomes will drive the widespread acceptance of this technology. Substantial disruption will occur as advanced community based manufacturing replaces industrial facilities with complex and inefficient logistic and inventory requirements.
ribsWhere, broadly, are the best opportunities for 3D printing in patient-specific applications?
Patient specific prosthetics and devices will become commonplace. Titanium 3D printing will allow a multitude of prosthetic implants to be made with anatomically specific designs and biomechanics characteristics. This technology will become widespread in every medical specialty. Doctors will be able to easily iterate on designs and innovate dramatically increasing creativity and empowerment. BioPrinting will allow patients tissue to be tested for a variety of therapeutic options so that the most effective treatment can be designed. Every aspect of medicine will be affected by this technology in a positive way.
anatomicsWhat sets the Australian market apart for 3D printing in healthcare?
 Anatomics was established in 1996 towards the end of my PhD research as it became evident that there was an ongoing clinical need for our technology. Australia has a relatively small population and we have refined and evolved our technology in relative isolation. It is a tough environment in Australia and we had to become resilient to deliver the highest quality products to surgeons. Anatomics has dominated the Australian market we are now exporting to 30 countries. Our quality is so highly regarded that BBraun Aesculap, a large German multinational medical company, distribute Anatomics patient specific prosthetics in Germany!
What do you hope attendees will gain from their presence at Inside 3D Printing Sydney?
I hope that the attendees become enthusiastic ambassadors for the technology. I want them to spread the word about the huge opportunities and remarkable possibilities that BioModelling has to deliver personalised healthcare to people through out the world.
What are you most looking forward to at Inside 3D Printing Sydney?
I look forward to learning about the latest developments in 3D printing technology and hope to network with like minded individuals.
keynoteWhat led you to want to discuss Community-Based Personalized Healthcare?
The disruptive nature of 3D printing allows local communities to manufacture high quality prosthetics and devices for their own people. AnatomcisRx is a new company that I have started up that is developing the software architecture for personalised healthcare. I am hoping that this software can be used to educate students in schools and universities to unlock innovation can creativity. I want people to have the ability to use this technology in their communities, not only in developed, but in developing countries too. I am hopeful that local hospitals anywhere in the world will be able to have access to advanced ‘on line engineering’ and be able to manufacture high quality prosthetics and devices for their own communities. Doctors and healthcare professionals will be able to create and innovate without the need for giant multinational corporations. I want to make efficient, cost effective and sustainable healthcare solutions available to all people in all countries.
What would you like our readers to know ahead of your keynote?
 I want them to know that if they come and listen to my presentation they will develop a new understanding of the importance of personalised healthcare and a sense of hope and excitement about how local communities can become empowered!
Inside 3D Printing Sydney runs May 11-13 — you can register before the conference now — and remember that readers can save! Enter code ‘3DPRINT’ at registration for a 10% discount.

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