3D bioprinting and its practical applications in health

The Spanish Platform for Nanomedicine (NANOMED Spain), the Spanish Platform for Innovation in Healthcare Technology and the HealthTech Cluster came together today for a conference on 3D printing and its applications in the health sector in Barcelona.

Clinical researchers from all over Spain, hospitals, health authorities and representatives of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health technology companies, among others, met to discuss the use of 3D bioprinting – 3D printing with cells – whose potential in the field of health, and particularly in tissue and organ regeneration, is huge. During the event’s three round table discussions, they talked about the current situation, future prospects and challenges presented by this new technology.

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At the inauguration Ángel Lanuza, coordinator of the Spanish Platform for Innovation in Healthcare Technology, said: “This technology offers a promising future, so it’s very important that the various stakeholders in the health environment continue to work together to respond to challenges, transfer innovation to the market and increase competitiveness.”

The first debate, which revolved around 3D printing in clinical practice, placed special emphasis on the technologies that are already being implemented today, such as the bioreplicas for surgical study (BREQ) presented by Jesús Corbacho of the company Eureqa. He emphasized the importance of taking care of the whole manufacturing process, from the images obtained from the patient to the model for the surgeon to plan the surgery, and a sterile one for the transplant. He and the other participants, José Manuel Baena (Regemat3D), Albert Giralt (Avinent) and Carlos Atienza (Biomechanics Institute of Valencia), also talked about the need for regulations to ensure the safety of this type of products.

During the second panel discussion, participants addressed the topic of regenerative medicine. Dr. Elisabeth Engel of IBEC’s Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies group described the challenges they face owing to the complexity of tissues, making them very difficult to mimic. However, the 3D printer offers the possibility of creating very porous structures using biotins, which allow oxygen and nutrients through to enhance cellular survival. In the same session Dr. Roberto Velez (Vall d’Hebrón Hospital), Dr. Pablo Gelber (Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau) and Esteve Trías (Banc de Sang i Teixits) talked about some of the practical needs in translational medicine that this technology could meet.

In the last session of the morning, featuring Xavier Canals (TecnoMed Ingenieros), Tomas Megia (Acció–HUB3D) and Angel Lanuza (Fenin), the speakers presented and discussed regulations on 3D printing in health, as well as the ethical dilemmas it presents and the need for training programs. They also talked about the technological development model CPI (Compra Pública Innovadora), in which public administrations participate in the financing of new technologies for medical and health purposes, as well as the Global 3D Printing Hub, which will be based in Catalonia.

This event was organized by the Spanish Platform for Nanomedicine (NANOMED Spain, coordinated by IBEC), the Spanish Platform for Innovation in Healthcare Technology (coordinated by Fenin) and the HealthTech Cluster.

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