Sep 15, 2017 | By Julia

The Bavarian Research Foundation (Bayerische Forschungsstiftung) has just announced a €220,000 investment in 3D printed heart stents. The aptly named NewGen-Stent research project will explore the development of technological solutions to coronary heart disease, the most frequent cause of death in industrialized countries according to recent studies by the World Health Organization.

Announced last week during an official ceremony at the medical technology manufacturer FIT Production GmbH’s headquarters in Lupburg, the Foundation’s major investment stands as a serious breakthrough in the fields of medical science and engineering. Secretary of State for Finance and Home Affairs Albert Füracker, who also formally delivered the subsidy, remarked that “Bayerische Forschungsstiftung stands for strategically important, application-oriented research funding. As a result of the rapid and flexible use of subsidies, knowledge and consortia are developed in Bavaria.” According to Füracker, “the main focus of the research foundation is the promotion of the transfer of knowledge between industry and science.”

Fitting words, as the growing industry of cardiovascular research and its technological applications become ever pressing. As Professor Ulf Noster from Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule (OTH) in Regensburg explained, the current state of heart stent technology is far from perfect. “When stents are inserted into the widening of the vessel walls, injuries are also caused by the positive effects of the treatment,” he noted. Whereas conventional forming technology is hardpressed to present any novel solutions in this area, 3D printing offers the possibility to produce completely new stent geometries, and thus presents an avenue demanding further exploration. This is precisely the goal of the NewGen-Stent project, Noster commented: “the design of new stents, which can be used to more precisely control the vessel widening and thus minimize the risk of vascular injuries."

Managing Director of FIT Production GmbH added that if his team is able to successfully 3D print improved heart stents with solid real-world applications, they can then begin to build up an additional investment in additively manufactured products suitable for the population at large. In other words, it might not be long before the world sees an overall boom in 3D printed medical technologies and products, and those not necessarily limited to the cardiovascular system.

The exciting investment is among the most lauded of the Bavarian Research Foundation’s recent ventures. Since it was founded in 1990, the Foundation has granted around €550 million for 831 projects, not including co-financing shares. Its recently announced investment into the NewGen-Stent research project will see a continued partnership with the OTH Regensburg, the FIT Production GmbH and the University Hospital Regensburg



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