ASME AM Medical Virtual Summit

The ASME AM Medical Virtual Summit took place this week, showcasing many advances in the medical applications of 3D printing for medicine across a few different streams of panel discussions, talks and coffee chats. As the event has now come to a close, I wanted to take the time to highlight my top five key takeaways and thoughts about where we are now with 3D printing in medicine.

If you would like to work with us on an upcoming virtual event or are interested in finding out more about our webinar opportunities, get in touch with us today. 

1. The future of 3D printing is micro: ‘massive capabilities at a micro-scale’

The world of microfabrication is certainly expanding as companies and research teams continue to test the size and complexity of 3D-printed objects. But as designs become smaller and more complex, they also become more expensive. It is therefore up to collaborative teams to plug these gaps by developing appropriate materials for use and technologies accurate enough to 3D print small and intricate designs, maximizing resolution, precision and accuracy simultaneously.

Microfabrication can be used in the design of many different devices or elements of devices, including intricate parts for hearing aids, for example, but also in the development of novel devices. The idea of utilizing micro- and nano-scale 3D printing techniques for the development of microneedle drug delivery devices or microneedle arrays was discussed, as exciting – but confidential – studies are already underway in this area.

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2. COVID-19 may have changed the world, but it’s brought the community together

As you may have expected, the additive response to COVID-19 was covered in an early panel discussion as experts came together to discuss their thoughts and experiences of the additive response to COVID-19 so far.

Beth Ripley, Assistant Professor of Radiology (VA Puget Sound, WA, USA), Christine Reilley, Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation (ASME), Nicole Wake, Director of the 3D Imaging Lab (Montefiore Medical Center, NY, USA) and Sam Onukuri, Head and Senior Fellow (Johnson & Johnson, NJ, USA) discussed the most effective strategies for being involved with 3D printing PPE and critical equipment, commending US FDA guidelines and those who have carefully considered end-users as well as regulatory guidance in their contributions to local health systems.

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3. Regulating, validating and verifying emerging technologies remains an important area for discussion

With a few different sessions dedicated to the regulation of emerging technologies and novel applications of 3D printing in the medical space, it was great to be able to join insightful and comprehensive discussions highlighting the regulatory process in different health systems.

Common themes throughout these discussions, from point-of-care devices to the future of bioprinted organs (or implantable tissues), included the implementation of quality from the start and considering the reality of scalability.

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4. Collaboration is the key to success with innovation

As different areas and applications within the 3D printing in medicine remit continue to progress and develop, the element of community spirit and collaboration was emphasized in a few different contexts, from multidisciplinary approaches to strategic partnerships.

While it may be especially important in current times as the wider community unites against the common pressure of COVID-19 on individual health systems, the idea of collaborating with industry to support younger innovations and with regulators to implement effective validation process was a clear theme throughout the summit.

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5. Adaptability in the additive community: meeting on a virtual platform

My overall impression from the event was how well the medical additive manufacturing community was able to adapt to be able to host and meet via a virtual platform. While we miss the ability to meet and exchange ideas in person, it was great to be able to network with experts from all over the world and meet exhibitors on virtual booths, while tuning into multiple streams of presentations and discussions. 

With attendees from all over the world, it felt like a truly international conference, offering opportunities for attendance to those who may not have been able to attend a live event in the US. Having said that, I am certainly looking forward to covering the live event in the Autumn (information TBC). 

Thank you once again to ASME for inviting us to cover the AM Medical Virtual Summit!

If you would like to work with us on an upcoming virtual event or are interested in finding out more about our webinar opportunities, get in touch with us today. 

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