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Singapore to house new healthcare 3D printing R&D lab

Thanks to a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH), patients can expect access to innovations such as customized medical devices and implants

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Patients are expected to benefit from healthcare innovations, such as customized medical devices and implants, thanks to a joint R&D lab specializing in 3D printing that is being set up as part of a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH). These innovations are currently still in development, and when implemented, would represent a significant leap towards pioneering healthcare solutions that could redefine patient treatment.

The collaboration leverages the combined expertise and resources of SGH’s 3D Printing Centre and NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP) to study and develop related technologies for clinical applications in a point-of-care setup. The joint R&D lab will focus on the following four areas:

Prosthetic and orthotic devices

This area involves developing capabilities in the modelling and use of additive manufacturing methodologies for Prosthetic & Orthotic (P&O) devices, including Ankle Foot Orthosis, Wrist Hand Orthosis, and Below Knee Amputation Sockets.

Bioprinting for regenerative medicine

Aiming to develop capabilities to 3D print living tissues, or bioprinting, specifically for regenerative medicine. This involves exploring the clinical applications of bioprinting and working towards translating existing research in this field into practical clinical use. A part of this effort will be to assess the feasibility and infrastructure requirements necessary to set up bioprinting capabilities at the point of care.

Additionally, the project will focus on conducting research into new areas of bioprinting that hold high clinical significance, such as human organ printing, to further enhance its potential impact in regenerative medicine.

Key objectives include defining design guidelines and requirements to 3D print the devices, which will involve engineering analysis, material selection, and functional testing. Additionally, the project will study and determine the most optimal materials and manufacturing techniques utilizing various additive manufacturing technologies.

3D printed implants at point of care

Developing capabilities for 3D printing medical implants directly at the point of care is the third area of research focus. This will involve exploring the potential of materials like Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) 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.

AM technology landscaping for healthcare applications

Reviewing and enhancing the additive manufacturing technology landscape specific to healthcare 3D printing involves identifying and developing potential applications with clinical significance, such as food printing and flexible electronics for medical monitoring devices. The focus is on cultivating capabilities and methods to translate these innovative applications into practical healthcare use cases, aiming to integrate advanced 3D printing technology into diverse medical needs of patients in Singapore.

Similarly, the feasibility and infrastructure requirements for setting up implant printing capabilities will be thoroughly studied to ensure efficient and effective implementation.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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One Comment

  1. How will this new lab’s research potentially impact the accessibility and affordability of personalized medical devices and implants in Singapore, particularly for marginalized communities?

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