Coun­try’s first 3-D med­i­cal print­ing cen­ter to open at Bei­jing hos­pi­tal

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - ByWANGWEN wang­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ma­te­ri­alise NV, a lead­ing provider of 3-D soft­ware and print­ing so­lu­tions to the med­i­cal, in­dus­trial, and con­sumer mar­kets, has signed an agree­ment with Fuwai Hos­pi­tal in Bei­jing to open China’s first multi-dis­ci­plinary 3-D print­ing cen­ter for med­i­cal spe­cial­ists.

The fa­cil­ity is ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of the year.

Fuwai is the coun­try’s largest car­dio­vas­cu­lar hos­pi­tal and the cen­ter will fo­cus par­tic­u­larly on 3-D printed heart mod­els, tech­ni­cally sup­ported by ex­perts from Bel­gium-basedMa­te­ri­alise.

The agree­ment was signed in the pres­ence of a del­e­ga­tion of Bel­gian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in China, as part of an of­fi­cial visit by the coun­try’s King Philippe.

Peter Leys, chair­man ofMa­te­ri­alise, said the com­pany has al­ready worked closely with FuwaiHospi­tal and Chi­nese reg­u­la­tory author­i­ties on ways of en­abling doc­tors and pa­tients to ben­e­fit from 3-Dprinted heart mod­els.

The mod­els have al­ready proven in­valu­able around the world in the plan­ning of com­plex med­i­cal pro­ce­dures,

the im­prov­ing out­comes and in many cases, sav­ing lives, Leys said.

“This is es­pe­cially true for ba­bies born with heart de­fects due to the com­plex­ity that comes with treat­ing pa­tients so young and del­i­cate,” he said.

Sur­geons from Fuwai first got in touch with Ma­te­ri­alise af­ter hear­ing about its work at an in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal con­fer­ence and de­cided to bring the tech­nol­ogy to China.

“Ma­te­ri­alise has helped us nav­i­gate op­por­tu­ni­ties and achieve med­i­cal 3-D print­ing goals in a safe, eco­nom­i­cal and sus­tain­able way,” said Hu Shen­shou, the head of Fuwai Hos­pi­tal.

Un­der the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, Fuwai Hos­pi­tal will be­come China’s lead­ing cen­ter for 3-D printed heart model ed­u­ca­tion, and be re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing the tech­nol­ogy to other parts of the coun­try, Hu said, adding there is also great po­ten­tial for ap­ply­ing 3-D print­ing to other ar­eas of healthcare.

Leys said Ma­te­ri­alise’s sur­gi­cal guide­lines were sold to 150 sites glob­ally in 2014, and that cus­tom­ized im­plants are likely to be the main ap­pli­ca­tions for 3-D print­ing in the fu­ture for med­i­cal pro­ce­dures such as joint re­place­ments.

He said it cur­rently has no di­rect com­peti­tors in China, but the com­pany is likely to start co­op­er­at­ing with Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers to work on spe­cial 3-D print­ers which can con­nect di­rectly with its soft­ware plat­form.

A re­cent re­port from Chuan­cai Se­cu­ri­ties es­ti­mated the use of 3-D print­ing in the Chi­nese healthcare sec­tor has grown more than 25 per­cent an­nu­ally over the past three years, and is now worth around 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.6 bil­lion) an­nu­ally.

“The healthcare in­dus­try is cur­rently the third-largest part of the 3-D print­ing mar­ket, and its use in this area has a bright fu­ture,” said Dai Kerong, an ex­pert on or­tho­pe­dic biome­chan­ics at the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing.

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