3D Printed Patient-Specific Cancer Treatment Bolus Added to 3D Systems Portfolio


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As part of their treatment regime, about 50% of cancer patients will undergo radiotherapy, which kills the cancer cells using a focused beam outside of the body or placing radioactive materials near the cancer cells inside the body. A flexible device called a bolus that conforms to the person’s skin is often used to help properly target the radiation. Unfortunately, off-the-shelf versions that don’t properly fit can leave gaps between the patient’s body and the device, which means inadequate dosing, and potentially exposing parts of the body that don’t have cancerous cells to radiation. That’s why 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) has announced its VSP Bolus solution with FDA 510(k) clearance for patient-specific radiotherapy treatment.

“Our new VSP Bolus product expands our capabilities to address yet another incredibly important application for personalized healthcare. While radiotherapy has become recognized as a common course of treatment for cancer diagnoses, each case is as unique as each patient. Blending the experience of our biomedical engineers, our biocompatible materials, 3D printing technology, and best-in-class digital workflows, we are able to both design and produce patient-specific devices to help improve the delivery of radiotherapy treatment,” explained Menno Ellis, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Solutions, 3D Systems.

Radiotherapy targeting, which a 3D printed bolus can help improve.

3D Systems has long worked to deliver personalized healthcare solutions, and has fabricated over two million implants and instruments for more than 100 FDA-cleared and CE-marked medical devices from its FDA-registered facilities in Belgium and Colorado. Over the last ten years, the company has worked with many surgeons to plan over 140,000 patient-specific cases, many of which were helped by its Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP). The solution combines surgical simulation, medical imaging, and 3D printing, and the end result is a digital plan that’s put into action in the OR through guides, templates, models, and other devices, now including boluses.

The new VSP Bolus marks the company’s entrance into the radiation oncology market, and 3D Systems claims it’s the only solution on the market offering a full design and production service based on a patient-specific treatment plan. Because of this, the company says that radiotherapy providers don’t need special design software, which allows them to focus more on the care and treatment of the patient. This goes hand in hand with the goal of 3D Systems’ 3D printed, biocompatible VSP Bolus solution—improve the patient experience by optimizing radiotherapy targeting.

3D Systems’ VSP Bolus solution delivers high-quality, patient-specific devices that contour to the patient’s anatomy, enabling more efficacious treatment and a more comfortable experience.

The high-quality 3D printed boluses that 3D Systems will now offer in its VSP portfolio are said to reduce air gaps, which can improve both patient comfort and therapy modulation. Using a patient’s imaging data, along with input from a radiotherapy professional, the company can design and print boluses for a variety of anatomies, and with specific material thicknesses to help optimize the targeting. This has an added bonus of taking something off the radiotherapy professional’s plate, since they won’t need to design and create the bolus themselves. After the bolus is designed for a patient, 3D Systems engineers use the company’s 3D printing solutions to fabricate the device from a soft material that contours well to the patient’s anatomy.

(Source/Images: 3D Systems)

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