Medical device company advances 3D printing technology thanks to SONAMI collaboration

Just as additive manufacturing is revolutionizing global health care, one collaborative company is set to help advance this life-improving medical technology right here in Canada. Using innovations in customized, digital technology, it will mean less time spent both in surgery and healing for patients.

ADEISS (Additive Design in Surgical Solutions Centre), the country’s first medical/dental device research, development and commercialization centre, is a collaborative partnership between Renishaw, a British engineering/scientific technology company and London, Ontario’s research cluster in musculoskeletal health. Its aim is to realize the full potential of patient-specific 3D-printed medical devices, such as cranio-maxillofacial implants for trauma and cancer treatment, innovations in treatment and technology that help speed up recovery times and improve quality of life for patients.

Given the regulatory requirements before implantable medical devices enter the human market, the centre has started in the veterinary world, helping to extend the lifespan of dogs using custom 3D printed titanium cranial plate implants. To achieve this, ADEISS has teamed up with Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), whose research team then brought on board the Ontario Veterinarian College (OVC) to help accelerate this development phase.

“Working in collaborative partnerships, such as with Sheridan College, enables us to access a range of technology and talent that provides real value in terms of accelerating our growth within the medical device field,” says Matt Parkes, Technical Manager at ADEISS. “Our work with Sheridan and the Ontario Veterinary College enables us to collect clinical evidence of the performance of metal 3D printed implants in animals, which will help with our approvals for human use.”

This research partnership to further the specialized medical technology was made possible thanks to funding received by the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led consortium funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), a single-window approach to supporting manufacturers’ research and development needs.

“Federal funding is vital to enable advanced manufacturers like ADEISS to pursue research projects which could realize innovative medical solutions, to the benefit of the Canadian health-care system,” says Parkes.

The project with Sheridan’s CAMDT is two-fold, explains research lead John Philips, PhD. “First, we are providing the 3D printing technology to create plastic anatomical models for pre-surgical evaluation,” he says. “With this, the team is also running some in-vitro biological studies to confirm the biocompatibility of the implant material, as well as ensuring the process produces geometrically accurate, functional devices.”

Secondly, says Philips, the research team is assessing the advanced manufacturing workflow in the veterinary field, from medical imaging to surgical implantation, with the objective of devising an improved, streamlined system

“This advanced workflow will aid clinician interaction, surgical planning and design evaluation,” says Parkes, noting they are in the process of evaluating cranial plate implants used in the treatment of skull bone tumours in dogs. Such a procedure for an otherwise healthy animal has a significant chance of extending its life by many years, as the current treatment leaves the dog with a piece of its skull missing.

“The project is highly impactful as results from the CAMDT team’s research will be translated to a wide range of medical devices that ADEISS will be developing in future work,” adds Parkes.

Sheridan’s students will be well equipped to advance patient specific surgical solutions by having access to CAMDT’s cutting-edge equipment and by participating in real-world projects involving hospitals and private industry, says Philips.

CAMDT is a 40,000 sq. ft. ‘technology playground’ for students, manufacturers and industry partners to explore highly specialized manufacturing and design equipment. The Centre is a learning environment for students and a testing platform for local manufacturing and industry. For more information about accessing SONAMI funding for your business, contact Maryna Bakuntseva, MSc, PhD, Research Project Specialist, [email protected] or visit online.