„A patient is lying on a surgical bed in a futuristic operating room, having recently been scanned by a cluster of sensors overhead. Across the room, a 3D-printer puts the finishing touches on a custom implant that was designed by the patient's surgeon, who used the scan results to modify a 3D blueprint downloaded from the internet. When the device is finished printing, the surgeon implants it using surgical instruments 3D-printed for that specific procedure. At the conclusion of the surgery, the doctor discards the used instruments in a special bin for materials to be recycled for future 3D-printing use." (Jim Pomager, March 14, 2014, www.meddeviceonline.com)
The upper lines sound like music from the future, but some necessary steps in the right direction are taken by the COMET K-Project CAMed.
The project shall bring together clinicians, medical scientists and engineers as well as industrial partners in a tightly networked, focused cooperation to develop additive manufacturing based processes for the clinical manufacture of custom-fit implants for specific medical applications. Medical professionals and their patients will, as a result, begin to reap the enormous potential benefits for clinical 3D-printing.
The ambitious aim of the COMET K-Project CAMed, which has a total project volume of about 5.87 Mio. € and is funded by the Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG) and the Styrian Government (SFG) is to bring additive manufacturing, respectively 3D-printing, into the very sensitive area of human medicine.
To be able to reach this aim, 5 scientific and 13 company partners decided to create a tight cooperation network to optimize the development of a process chain for 3D-printing in the clinic and to further take patients' treatment on the next level.
CAMed consists of 2 Areas with 6 single projects that focus on different medical sections to test out various 3D-printing technologies as well as existing and newly developed materials.
The long-term aim of CAMed is to establish a Medical 3D-Printing Centre at the Medical University of Graz, where patient-specific implants, prostheses and tools for different applications can be centrally additively manufactured.