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It is a full-time job just to follow medical applications for 3D printing, as there are so many promising stories that focus on how 3D printing is becoming more influential among surgeons and in hospital settings.  As yet another example of 3D printing’s growing medical influence, Materialise announces that it has signed an agreement with China’s largest cardiovascular hospital to provide 3D printed clinical planning tools to Fu Wai Hospital, located in Beijing, via the opening of a new multidisciplinary 3D printing center.

Leuven, Belgium-based Materialise is a pioneer in 3D printing software and services, providing Additive Manufacturing (AM) to healthcare, aerospace, art/design, automotive, and consumer products industries. Since 1990, Materialise has been involved in heart4providing AM options for medical applications, and this includes biomedical and clinical solutions like surgical simulations and medical imaging processing. So it’s no surprise that the company has teamed up with China’s largest cardiovascular hospital, which employs 2,551 medical and staff members. This large, state-of-the-art hospital was founded in 1956 and is a 788,160-square-foot facility. The hospital uses cutting-edge instruments for the medical examination of cardiovascular diseases, like the cardiac MRI scanner and 64-slice cardiac CT scanner. Now, with the agreement with Materialise, Fu Wai will have the ability to work with top of the line 3D printed, lifesaving heart models.

Materialise’s Board Chairman, Peter Leys, summarizes the benefits of this partnership:

“Materialise highly anticipates working closely together with Fuwai Hospital, and Chinese regulatory authorities, to enable doctors and patients to benefit from 3D Printed heart models. Around the world, these heart models have already proven invaluable for the preparation of complex interventions, thereby improving outcomes and in many cases, saving lives. This is especially true for young babies born with heart defects due to the complexity that comes with treating patients so young and delicate.”

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Dr. Hu Shenshou is the President of Fu Wai Hospital, and he acknowledges that this agreement with Materialise is a game-changer for the quality of medical services that Fu Wai is dedicated to providing. Dr. Shenshou also acknowledges that the hospital will  serve as an example of the benefits of using 3D printed heart models to the rest of the international cardiovascular medical community.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with a company that has 25 years of experience in medical 3D Printing as they help us navigate opportunities and achieve medical 3D Printing goals in a safe, economical and sustainable way,” says Dr. Shenshou. “With this collaboration, Fuwai Hospital will become China’s leading center for 3D printed heart model education, spreading knowledge of the technology and how it can be used by surgeons to the benefit of the Chinese public.”

This type of an agreement also bodes well for international relations. A delegation of Belgian government officials, including theheart2 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, and Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem, were present to sign this agreement and observed it as good business sense and an occasion to boost bilateral ties between the countries.

3D printing brings people together in more ways than one, as the technology promises rapid medical advances with new applications, while more cooperative international relations are facilitated through collaborations such as this one between Materialise and China’s Fu Wai Hospital.

Let us know your thoughts on this latest agreement in the Materialise to Open Chinese 3D Printing Center forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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