3D in healthcare: from organ printing to health & wellness
We usually run our monthly Health 2.0 Amsterdam events pretty tight on schedule with about 10-12 minutes per presenter leaving 20 minutes for a discussion. When it came to the topic of 3D in healthcare, I stopped watching the time… Intrigued, fascinated, mesmerized are just three words to express my state of mind. I hope others who attended, share my opinion.
Ernst Jan Bos, a PhD student at plastic surgery department of VUMC was a very eloquent and passionate speaker. While some of the pictures in the slides were pretty disturbing, they represented real patients and real problems for which the solutions today are not perfect, complex and error prone. I personally learnt something new: to date all the attempts of 3D printed cartilage (ears) use either cow or calf cartilage cells and about 250M of these cells are required. Using human cells has many challenges, including slow development, loss of potential when cultured and a requirement for very high concentration of cells. Ernst Jan launched a crowdfunding campaign for a 3D printer and while the campaign itself was not successful, he ultimately got the funding to pursue clinical cartilage regeneration using cartilage and fat derived stem cells. We are hoping to hear back from him soon!
Nell Watson from Poikos rocked the presentation. She did not dive right into the product pitch, but really gave a passionate presentation and great background on what is happening in the world of 3D in healthcare. From titanium based, fashionable $6,000 prosthetics to bio printing and the role of convergence that will drive the future of personalized healthcare. While her initial drive for 3D body modeling was the need for customization of clothes, she quickly realized that there is so much more this technology can do for healthcare. Who said 3D is hard? Using a regular SmartPhone or PC camera, a person needs to take just two pictures: one from the front and one from the side and then the magic happens at Poikos. This magic took two years to develop and there is still work to be done but it is amazingly accurate to 3MM and provides over 100 different measurements. Nell herself has not heard about Quantified Self till this past February, but has been using her own technology to do just that and in the process lost 15kg just by setting a goal for her shape. Her business model is B2B, for clients to embed this technology into other platforms and ultimately use 3D modeling for predictive analytics across disease types in combination with other data.
The tech is complex, and the journey is long but its not a sprint - its a marathon and with entrepreneurs like Ersnt Jan and Nell Watson, anything is possible.
If you have other great examples of 3D in healthcare please don’t hesitate to comment or share with the group!