3D printing technologies have proved themselves to be beneficial within the medical sector in a number of ways, including the timely manufacturing of custom-designed implants and prosthetics, as well as the creation of bespoke anatomical parts for surgical planning and training. This latter application has the potential to not only help doctors become familiar with specific patients’ anatomies before the actual surgery, but could effectively help save lives. According to Thomas Marchand, founder of French startupBiomodex, this is exactly what his company has set out to do.

In a recent speech given by Marchand, he explains that every year over 400,000 deaths are caused by avoidable medical errors in the United States alone, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the country. Fortunately, the innovator believes that his startup Biomodex, co-founded by Sidarth Radjou, could help lower these numbers by helping doctors to perform pre-surgical simulations on almost exact replicas of the patient’s organs.

Based in Paris and Boston, Biomodex offers clients a way to 3D print patient specific organs using medical data from MRIs and ultrasounds. Unlike some other 3D printed organs we’ve seen in the past, the ones printed by Biomodex can mimic different human tissues and organic textures thanks to a multi-material 3D printing system, a feature which allows surgeons to more accurately plan operations and surgical incisions.

In addition to patient specific surgical planning, Biomodex’s technology can also be used in medical training practices. For instance, it offers medical facilities a functional alternative to standard simulation processes, which traditionally consist of operating on cadavers, or even animals. These, of course, come with a number of ethical issues, as well as more complicated logistics in terms of storing and preserving. 3D printed plastic body parts, however, can be stored easily and do not have an expiry date.

Marchand adds, “Another advantage is that we can choose the illness or problem the surgeon wants to practise. For example, we can reproduce a specific arm or leg fracture when a teacher wants to give a particular lesson. Finally, 3D simulation of bodies is not only an alternative, but it is often the only method of training, particularly for paediatric illnesses, whether congenital or not. This is because the law does not allow minors to donate their bodies to medical science.”

Currently, Biomodex is producing realistic models for cardiac, orthopedic, and Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) procedures, but the company is hoping to expand its services to all medical disciplines as they grow. To continue to improve their models and to create the most life-like 3D printed body parts, Biomodex works closely with medical practitioners and has employed a number of specialist engineers who are in charge of analyzing biomechanical properties of the parts to make them as texturally and visually similar to the real thing as possible.

Biomodex, which was founded in 2014, successfully closed an investment round earlier this year having raised $3.6 million. Just a few weeks ago, the startup was recognized for its potentials at the EDF Pulse Awards, taking home the top prize in the E-Health category. According to Marchand, the startup will be launching another financing round in September 2017 to further expand its business in the United States.



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