When it comes to medical products, whether it’s a drug or a device, almost nothing gets to market without being tested extensively in clinical trials first. It’s a long, often expensive process to bring a new medical product to the public, but several medical professionals in the United States have found that process to be made a little bit easier thanks to Materialise. The 3D printing and software company has a long history of assisting medical procedures with its technology – just a few days ago, we learned about its most recent case study involving a complex jaw surgery. But Materialise is also proving to be a valuable partner to medical professionals well before they bring patients into the operating room.
One challenging part of clinical trials is selecting the right group of patients – but Materialise’s 3D imaging software is helping surgeons and medical device companies to analyze and choose the ideal patients for particular trials, based on their anatomy. Once the patients have been selected, doctors and other medical professionals can create individual 3D printed models based on each patient’s anatomy to develop treatment or surgical plans ahead of time.
3D printing is also helping medical device manufacturers to prototype and manufacture products more quickly, inexpensively and effectively. The faster a device is completed, the faster it can enter clinical trials and ultimately get approved for general use, and Materialise has offered its 3D printing services to many manufacturers developing new devices.
“At Materialise, we believe in the power of our mission to create a better and healthier world,” said Bryan Crutchfield, Vice President and General Manager of Materialise North America. “We work very closely with teams at our partner hospitals and medical device companies to explore opportunities to assist in complex, innovative medical procedures. By working with our partners to leverage 3D printing for more effective and efficient clinical trials, we are helping them bring innovative devices and procedures to market and improve care for patients.”
Recently, Materialise collaborated with Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System on the development of a patient screening and planning solution for patients with severe mitral valve disease. The standard of treatment for this disease is risky open heart surgery, but new treatments are in development involving a device inserted through a patient’s blood vessel to replace the mitral valve.
Because such devices aren’t on the market yet, Henry Ford is using a transcatheter aortic device instead. The creation of such devices is a complex process, requiring complicated 3D anatomical imaging and accurate virtual planning. Surgeons need to know ahead of time how much the device will restrict the blood flowing from the heart, and so the doctors at Henry Ford used Materialise Mimics Innovation Suite, combining anatomical planning on hollow virtual models with surgical simulations on 3D printed models.
“The results that we’ve had using 3D computer aided design imaging have been nothing short of remarkable,” said Dee Dee Wang, M.D., Director of Structural Heart Imaging at Henry Ford Hospital, and Medical Director, 3D Printing, Henry Ford Innovation Institute. “These virtual models allow us to plan and personalize each patient’s procedure before it happens, minimizing the risk of complications. Because we care for the sickest of the sick, that makes this a real game changer.”
Materialise Medical will be at the Transcatheter Valve Therapies (TVT) Conference, which is taking place this week in Chicago on June 15 and 16. If you happen to be attending, you can stop by to talk with Brigitte de Vet, VP of Materialise Medical, and the rest of the medical team. Discuss in the Materialise forum at 3DPB.com.
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