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10:00 AM  January 29, 2018

Print heart in 2 hours: what brakes Tomsk project on 3D-print

© РИА Томск. Элеонора ЧернаяPrint heart in 2 hours: what brakes Tomsk project on 3D-print

TOMSK, Jan 29 – RIA Tomsk. Project of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) can help cardiologists: scientists learned to print plastic copies of hearts of real patients on 3D-printer, and they want to create compact installation that doctors could use it in hospitals when planning operations. However project did not receive financing so far. Details in material of RIA Tomsk.

Why cardiologists need plastic "doubles" of hearts

There is a plastic double of a heart of one of little patients of the Tomsk Scientific Research Institute of Cardiology on a desktop of the head of the TPU Research and Educational Center "Modern Manufacturing Technologies" Vasily Fedorov. Externally artificial model is similar to slightly melted snow lump.

© РИА Томск. Элеонора Черная
Plastic model of heart printed on 3D-printer on the basis of tomographic images of real patients

Fedorov saws it with a hacksaw and shows an internal part to journalists. The set of cavities, partitions, valves and vessels is visible.

"To show heart from within is a task of our project. It is possible to break a plastic model and study each its part. It will help a doctor to understand how to perform heart surgery correctly. Tomsk cardiologists already worked with one of such models, saved several hours on a stage of planning and during the surgery  as a result. It was succeeded to reduce also quantity of seams, each hem has huge value for the patient", – Fedorov explains.

© РИА Томск. Элеонора Черная
3D-model of heart
The project started thanks to cooperation of polytechnics and Tomsk cardiologists. The conversation on 3D-tomography was initiated at one of meetings. Cardiologists told: now they use virtual 3D-modeling for surgery planning. Doctors see the external surface of heart and many elements in three-dimensional pictures, and it would be desirable to see an internal part.

"It was decided to try 3D-print at the Tomsk platforms. Cardiologists gave us the file with special extension of tomography, then all of us edited the available model, cut superfluous together because edges, lungs, vessels are visible in pictures. Further the file for transmission to the printer was created and the printing began", – the head of the center says.

As a result participants of the project could reproduce not only an external, but also internal cover of heart.

"Cardiologists showed us: all walls are visible, and it is possible to see defect because of which a person is ill. In the beginning we thought that it is defect on plastic model, and it turned out that it is defect in real heart. Initially doctors planned surgery on one scheme and when studied the plastic copy, understood that it is better "to come" into heart from the other side, and to remove two defects with one cut", – Fedorov comments.

Cardiologists could apply plastic models during 2017 to preparation for several surgeries. All of them passed successfully.

Without budget

In the long term of the project is a press of models from rubber. Such "doubles" will be more similar to the originals, so, cardiologists will have new opportunities for planning of operations and also training of medical students.

"We already made several samples of rubber, understood what has to be final material what requirements to the equipment are and how to finish it. Ideal development of the project is: we make a technological complex which allows doctors to print models directly in hospital without our participation. Uploaded files, printed. That two hours was necessary for everything, but not two weeks as it is now", – Fedorov says.

However, he adds, the considerable sum of money is necessary for this work.

"At least 15 million are needed for development of technology and software. We planned to participate in grant competitions with cardiologists to receive financing. But yet there is no result. We do not see interest from the state though it is clear that the project is significant. Now we need to get interested business, but it is not clear yet how to involve it", – Fedorov marks.

The team of the project is ready to continue the work, and the first results will be received within three years if there will be money. Term, by the standards of scientific projects, is small. According to Fedorov, nobody makes similar work in Russia.

"The press of functional elements of heart, valves, for example can become continuation of the project. It is already personalized medicine with use of additive technologies. The surgery in the West goes this way. But we still don't look so far in the future. We need to find financing for the press of models of human hearts", – the expert summarizes.

© РИА Томск. Элеонора Черная
Head of the TPU Research and Educational Center "Modern Manufacturing Technologies" Vasily Fedorov
Fedorov adds: "We consider option of participation in various accelerators such as Startup Village, in the section "Biotechnologies", also in GenerationS, the track Agrо&MedTech. And of course in programs of the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology. Besides, we consider the possibility of the appeal to various non-profit funds".

The unique center " Modern Manufacturing Technologies " works in TPU since 2015. Materials and difficult products for the atomic industry, medicine, space and other spheres are created there. The center is equipped with the modern equipment made in TPU. One of the priority directions of works is import substitution in the field of additive technologies, or technologies of layer-by-layer synthesis.

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