Jul 5, 2016 | By Tess

All around the world, the potentials of 3D printing in the healthcare field are becoming increasingly evident, as governments and private companies are investing in developing the technology and its various medical applications. In the United Arab Emirates, for instance, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced last month that it was developing a strategy for 3D printed medical services and now it seems that strategy could be put into action by as soon as the end of the year. In other words, medical patients in Dubai could soon be seeing 3D printed teeth, hearing aids, medical devices, casts, and prosthetic limbs as part of their treatments.

Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy, which has a deadline set for 2030, was officially announced by Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. As explained by an official representative, the strategy has two functions, one to deal with Dubai’s own 3D printing strategy, and the other to deal expressly with the healthcare sector (the deadline for the latter is 2021). The medical focus will seek to offer patients more affordable and timely treatments, such as 3D printed prosthetic limbs for under Dh400 (approximately USD $109), and—when the time comes—even 3D printed organs.

In order to develop their 3D printing strategy, the DHA looked to a number of other innovative cities for inspiration. As Dr. Mohammad Al Redha, Director for the Executive Office for Organisational Transformation explains to Khaleejtimes, "A number of cities have been used as a benchmark. We usually look at cities that are advanced in innovations. We also look at cities that are the same size as Dubai with similar and unique challenges. We will not have a city that has a 100 per cent match but we look for a similar market. For 3D printing, we have taken models from Stockholm, Boston and Singapore specifically since they are advanced in innovation.”

Al Redha also explains that the strategy is also open to other technologies, not only 3D printing, and that when new technologies and innovations appear they can be fit into the budget. Of course, a big part of the strategy is the development of regulations surrounding 3D printing technologies, which is what the DHA is currently focusing on in the run-up to launching 3D printing medical services.

As mentioned, planned applications for 3D printing in the medical sector include 3D printed teeth, which would allow the overall process to be cut from weeks down to merely hours, and 3D printed casts, which could offer a lighter, more efficient alternative to current plaster of Paris casts, which are heavy and can be restrictive for blood flows.

When asked how soon 3D printing services would be available to patients in Dubai, Al Redha explained that because hospitals are held to high standards and are expected to have the most state-of-the-art technologies and treatments, having the services available as rapidly as possible was a priority. He says, “The city is moving in such a way and patients want hospitals that use the latest technology. If hospitals do not catch up, all technology will become obsolete. At the end of the day, we, as suppliers and providers of healthcare, have to work and move accordingly.”

And while 3D printed organs are still far off on the horizon for 3D printing technologies, the DHA has the long-term dream of offering patients 3D printed kidneys—a breakthrough which would cut down on donor wait times and eliminate the worry of organ rejection within the patient’s body since the organ could be printed from the patient’s own stem cells.

For now, the 3D printing strategy for the DHA is due by 2021 at the latest, but there is a likely chance Dubai’s medical sector will be seeing 3D printing applications before that date, even as soon as this year. Al Redha explains, “We would like a clinic or two to start before this. We have a few surprises in store which we will announce later.” The programme leaders in charge of the strategy are currently working on its first program, care model innovation, through immediate, medium, and long term plans.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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alvaro wrote at 7/7/2016 3:57:23 PM:

Great News! They can do partnerships with many research leaders(Anthony Atala,Vladmir Mironov,Saso Ivanovski,Alex Seifalian,etc)worldwide.

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