Colorado Hospital 3D Prints Bolus on LulzBot TAZ 6 to Treat Skin Cancer Patient

RAPID

Share this Article

One of the largest nonprofit health care centers in the US, Banner Health owns and operates nearly 30 facilities, including acute-care hospitals, family clinics, and outpatient surgery centers, in six states out west; one of these is the private, nonprofit North Colorado Medical Center (NCMC). For the first time, Banner Health is expanding its cancer care at NCMC’s Oncology Department through the use of 3D printing technology.

In order to improve treatment for its cancer patients currently undergoing radiation, NCMC is using a LulzBot 3D printer from Aleph Objects, also located in Colorado. Earlier this month, NCMC treated its first skin cancer patient with a 3D printed mold, also called a bolus. Dr. Alexander Markovic, the Medical Physics Program Director for NCMC’s Radiation Oncology, and his team developed the NCMC Cancer Institute’s new 3D printing program, soon after receiving a LulzBot TAZ 6 in December of 2016, only a few months after the 3D printer debuted at RAPID.

Before Dr. Markovic’s team could apply 3D printing technology to a treatment plant, they had to go through several months of training and testing, but have now put the training, and the printer itself, to good use.

NCMC surgeons removed cancer from the inside of patient Darrell French’s ear, and he is currently over halfway through his six-week radiation treatment. Before the treatment began, Dr. Markovic’s team used French’s CAT scans and 3D modeling to print out a bolus on the TAZ 6, using flexible NinjaFlex filament. The bolus wraps around the outside and inside of his ear, and ensures that the correct dosage of radiation is applied to the right area.

Darrell French and Dr. Alexander Markovic

French said, “It works really well and it hasn’t bothered me at all. After three weeks, the inside of my ear is fine.”

Less precise materials, like gauze, were once used to cover and cup cancer treatment areas, before the NCMC team was able to use a 3D printer to make a bolus. These were not the best solutions, as the materials created air pockets that diluted a patient’s dose of radiation. But thanks to the TAZ 6, NCMC doctors are able to 3D print a bolus, with 0.5 mm accuracy, in six to eight hours.

“In the past, we resorted to using simple techniques such as gauze or rubber-like elastic materials to help better distribute radiation dose onto the patient’s skin surface. The new 3D printer allows us to create custom molds that perfectly conform to a patient’s skin, ensuring more accurate and timely treatment delivery,” explained Jeffrey Albert, MD, who specializes in radiation oncology with Banner Health.

Dr. Markovic says that the use of 3D printed bolus in French’s radiation treatment is just the start of what promises to be a long and successful working relationship with 3D printing technology.

“The sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D printing. With the 3D printed bolus, we are able to better target the radiation dose so that the treatment is more effective,” said Dr. Markovic.

His team is also using the TAZ 6 to 3D print body parts, in order to show patients examples of different treatment plans, as well as planning to utilize 3D printing technology to treat other types of cancer, like breast cancer. Additionally, other Banner Health facilities are getting primed to roll out the new 3D printing program: in the coming months, the McKee Medical Center in Colorado and the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Arizona will both be implementing 3D printing technology.

Aleph Objects President Harris Kenney said, “Desktop 3D printers are increasingly being adopted for end-use applications. Providing highly personalized care from a doctor’s desktop is an exciting example of what is possible with 3D printing in healthcare and other fields.”

What do you think of this treatment? Discuss in the Skin Cancer forum at 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

Apple Watch to Use Mass 3D Printed Metal Parts from China’s Bright Laser Technologies

The Future of Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing: Insights from Nottingham’s Richard Hague



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

FABRX Sets Up Drug 3D Printing Subsidiary in the US

British pharmaceutical printing startup FABRX is now setting up a United States based company, FABRX US. To explain the move, the company noted: ¨Having already seen a strong demand for...

3D Printing News Briefs, May 4, 2024: Inkjet Materials, 3D Printed Mac Clone, & More

May the 4th be with you, fellow Star Wars fans! In this edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, Quantica and ALTANA Cubic Ink are working together to expand future inkjet...

Sponsored

Full Program Announced for July’s 2024 Additive International Summit

Running from 10th to the 11th July in Nottingham, UK, the 2024 Additive International Summit features presentations from some of the world’s leading additive manufacturing researchers and developers The full...

3D Printing News Briefs, April 27, 2024: Research, Digital Dentistry, Cycling, & More

We’re starting today’s 3D Printing News Briefs with some research into 3D printed luminescent quantum-dot polymer architectures and free-form laser beam shaping, and then on to an open source 4-axis...