PRINTMED-3D is a vision, it is the fusion of personalized medicine and additive manufacturing, two essential aspects of the educational training and surgical strategies of the future.
Francesca Maria Orecchio
For me, PRINTMED-3D represents the attempt to revolutionize the way of conceiving the biomedical sector, which has been left static by dusty, academic approaches. The main innovation of this project, in my opinion, lies precisely in the ability to identify the right questions to ask in relation to real problems, to be answered in a way that is effective but above all practical. It's an equation in which simplicity does not mean ease of implementation. Specifically, I was able to understand the real flexibility and innovation of PRINTMED-3D in relation to my work, asking myself questions which, as a cell biologist, I had never pondered in the past. I am learning to understand the limits of current techniques of classical molecular biology (especially those used for the maintenance of cell lines) and I am identifying the aspects on which we can intervene to simplify, automate and speed up the established experiments on 2D cell cultures. For me, the creation of a microfluidic device with a material suitable for biological purposes is the obstacle and, at the same time, the biggest challenge of the whole project. Identifying the correct material in this area would be an innovative and revolutionary result since, at present, it inductively represents the greatest limitation on the production and use of these products on a large scale.
The in vitro culture of cells and tissues has enabled giant strides to be made in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of disease. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated techniques, it is possible to simulate the organization of tissues starting with stem cells from a single donor, laying the foundations for personalized medicine, with diagnostic and therapeutic approaches targeted at the individual. It is also possible to amplify cells and tissues for regenerative medicine, for toxicology and pharmaceutical studies, reducing the need for animal experiments. New automated microfluidic culture models are needed to implement reproducibility and bring biomedical research closer to clinical application.
The PRINTMED-3D research project combines medicine and technology in an unprecedented way. Starting from state-of-the-art scientific research, and making use of the best and latest technologies, it aims to develop innovative solutions for the medicine of the future. Virtual reality and 3D printing can, in this sense, open up a wide range of possibilities in healthcare, improving and, in some ways, revolutionizing teaching, offering a safe environment for practice, allowing precision pre-operative planning, and therefore improving the standard of care offered to patients.
PRINTMED-3D is a platform that facilitates interaction and synergy between high-level profiles with complementary skills, as well as offering the opportunity to access advanced methods and technologies, which together guarantee an acceleration in the development and implementation of innovative ideas in the biomedical field.
As a newly specialized neurosurgeon, I am very interested in the development of new technological tools that make it possible to simulate surgical cases without exposing the patient to the risks associated with inexperience. Furthermore, for more experienced surgeons, the PRINTMED-3D project would offer the great advantage of reconstructing models starting from real clinical cases, providing the opportunity to study and program the right approach, thus understanding the difficulties relating to the operation and developing possible solutions.