Patients at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will benefit from healthcare innovations such as customised medical devices and implants as a result of a collaboration with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) to establish a Joint Research & Development Laboratory in additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing.
These innovations are still in the works, but if they are implemented, they will represent a significant step forward in pioneering healthcare solutions that could redefine patient treatment.
The collaboration will study and develop related technologies for clinical applications in a point-of-care setting using the combined expertise and resources of SGH’s 3D Printing Centre and NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP).
3D Printing R&D Lab
The Joint R&D Lab for Additive Manufacturing will concentrate on four areas:
Prosthetic & Orthotic Devices
This research area focuses on the development of modelling and additive manufacturing methodologies for Prosthetic & Orthotic (P&O) devices such as Ankle Foot Orthosis, Wrist Hand Orthosis, and Below Knee Amputation Sockets.
Bioprinting for Regenerative Medicine
This research focus aims to develop capabilities for 3D printing living tissues, also known as bioprinting, for use in regenerative medicine. This includes investigating the clinical applications of bioprinting and working to translate existing research in this field into practical clinical applications. Part of this effort will be to assess the feasibility and infrastructure requirements for establishing point-of-care bioprinting capabilities.
Furthermore, the project will focus on conducting research into new areas of bioprinting that have high clinical significance, such as human organ printing, in order to increase the project’s potential impact in regenerative medicine.
The primary goals will be to define design guidelines and requirements for 3D printing the devices, which will entail engineering analysis, material selection, and functional testing. Furthermore, the project will investigate and determine the best materials and manufacturing techniques for use with various additive manufacturing technologies.
Point-of-Care 3D Printed Implants
The third area of research focus is on developing capabilities for 3D printing medical implants directly at the point-of-care. This will entail investigating the potential of technologies such as PEEK (Polyetheretherketone), a type of plastic, and metal 3D printing to create implants for specific medical procedures such as surgical repair of a bone defect in the skull and reconstruction of the bones surrounding the eyeball.
3D Printing Landscaping for Healthcare Applications
Examining and improving the additive manufacturing technology landscape for healthcare 3D printing entails identifying and developing potential clinical applications such as food printing and flexible electronics for medical monitoring devices.
The emphasis is on developing capabilities and methods for translating these innovative applications into practical healthcare use cases, with the goal of integrating advanced 3D printing technology into a wide range of medical needs.
Similarly, to ensure efficient and effective implementation, the feasibility and infrastructure requirements for establishing implant printing capabilities will be thoroughly investigated.
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