Rapid prototyping technologies allow efficient production of complex, one of a kind products. Medical modelling with rapid prototyping technologies presents both new opportunities for new types of products such as medical mock-ups and
opportunities to alter or to extend the application scope of implants and other medical devices.
However, a real commercial breakthrough of this technology is still missing, because introducing new technologies in the
medical sector generally takes time: technology and clinical relevance need to be demonstrated, awareness of the potential of medical models has to be created and the technology needs to be positioned in the health insurance system of different
countries. One can expect the largest impact of the medical modelling technology from the incorporation of the technology in the medical device sector. It is therefore important to
study which applications and how medical modelling can be
incorporated in medical device manufacturing.
To promote medical modelling the thematic network would have four Work Areas:
Work Area 1 will investigate the technical quality of the
technology. Standards will be developed and used to perform
quality control on models based on data from different scanner types and manufactured starting from different ways of
Work Area 2 will investigate the clinical relevance of medical models after collecting a great amount of medical cases.
Work Area 3 will investigate the costs involved with the
technology and the effect of the model based treatment on the patient.
The fourth Work Area will investigate technologies to provide model based medical devices with high quality which need to be integrated in new clinical and manufacturing approaches.
The partners perform specific research and commercialisation in all different aspects of medical modelling ranging from image generation and processing over the necessary software tools to machines and materials used for medical modelling. Committed research partners in the medical field cover a wide variety of applications in evaluation or development. Due to the
interdisciplinary nature of the work involved and to the rare occurrence of localized medical cases, a European Network is an ideal instrument to develop and promote this promising
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP
The network partnership distribution provides strong
exploitation potential in each application area. Inputs from medical staff, surgeons and radiologists and end users are
ensured through the tight links with the academic hospitals
This project will bring together forty partners from eleven different European Countries.
The European dimension of this Network allows to coagulate the scattered academic and industrial expertise on the topic and is important as:
- models are used for complex surgery but the number of
patients in one country does not justify a national
- medical models are still new in the medical community and the need exists to set up a detailed application overview;
- it is beneficial for the validation of the general
approach proposed in the network that not only surgeons from different specialties and different schools participate in the project, but also surgeons from different nationalities.
Although it is generally accepted that the US has a leading
position in the development of Rapid Prototyping, it is also recognized in the rapid prototyping community that Europe is leading in the application of medical image based models. It is important to maintain this leading position in the next decade, because of the typical nature of the medical market that will only grow to its full potential in the next century.
A European Network is the ideal basis to bring medical staff, technology providers, RP production sites and distributors
Medical modelling with rapid prototyping technologies presents both new opportunities for new types of products such as
medical models and opportunities to alter or extend the
application scope of implants and other medical devices,
driving industrial interest eventually.
Validation studies in the PHIDIAS project have indicated that medical models are of interest in complex procedures as they cause a reduction in theater time (reduced cost) and an
increase in quality of the surgery (patient's benefit). As
Rapid Prototyping in industry has had a major impact in the
design procedures of complex mechanical components, it has been indicated that a similar effect can be obtained in surgical
The network will operate in a broad field and has to have a
generic character in order to overcome major problems in
introducing the medical modelling technology. Today no medical company feels sufficiently confident to overcome all these
barriers for its specific medical market segment, but the risk is heavily reduced if it can be distributed over a wide range of medical market segments.
The network is expected to outline a very detailed field of
applications of the medical models, taking into account the
quality of the model, the clinical relevance, the socioeconomical aspects and if applicable the impact on the implant industry. At the moment, this quality assessment and
application overview is the main barrier against a breakthrough of medical modelling. The PHIDIAS network can play a vital role here.
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