May 11, 2015 | By Alec

Over a year ago, we first learned of a very interesting biomedical 3D printing innovation developed by Japanese medical technology innovators NEXT 21 K.K.. As part of the NEDO project, the company's developers created a 3D bone printer capable of producing artificial bone structures for humans. Over the past year, the company has been thoroughly testing the applicability of these 3D printed bones but the results must've been very promising as the Japanese company has just announced a deal with Dutch medical company Xilloc.

Under the agreement, NEXT 21 provides Xilloc with a licence to 3D print and sell these customized bone structures in the European market. NEXT21 will also provide Xilloc CT with all the information needed for the registration, manufacturing and selling of these 'CT bones'. Before these 3D printed bones actually hit the shelves, Xilloc needs to go through registration for on an EU-level on 93/42/EEC (Medical Device Directive MDD). After completing that registration, Xilloc will be able to begin manufacturing and selling these 3D printed CT bones within Europe.

To clarify, CT bones are the customized artificial bones created from a CT scan of the affected area on a 3D printer. The technology has been developed as part of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization project (also known NEDO), and was masterminded by a Japanese research team that includes researchers from NEXT21 K.K., the University of Tokyo and Riken. The research team has already conducted preclinical testing of the CT bone through NEDO, and has also carried out a clinical trial on a national scale with support of the Japan Foundation Medical Research Institute (NIBIO).

These bones are especially promising due to the 'filament' used in 3D printing. The ink that forms the CT bones is made from a commonly used bone substitute called calcium phosphate, from a family of ions that makes up the bulk of bones and tooth enamel in our bodies. This 3D printer can be used to print bone structures and reproduce a shape that is accurate up to a very impressive 0.1mm. Moreover, this new printing method does not require a thermal process, making it possible to realize biologically active artificial bones as well. Its developers also claim that the CT bone can be integrated into our skeletons and fuse together with existing bone structures, making it a perfect technology for complicated medical situations and deformities.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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