3D printing is a collective term for innovative techniques which have been developing rapidly over the last couple of years. There are those who are naming the ‘new industrial revolution’. Despite the technique still being under development, potential applications are already numerous. These also include (bio)medical applications, for instance implants. 3D printing has a lot of potential to improve medical care, especially in combination with other innovative techniques and developments, such as organ-on-a-chip, regenerative medicine syntheticbiology and stem cell research. It can also help realize the three R’s in animal experiments; Replacement, Reduction, Refinement.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing, also called additive layering/manufacturing, is a collective term for techniques, which allow the fabrication of 3D objects. The original type of 3D printing has been around for more than 25 years, but the technology is continuously being developed and has seen increasing use in the last couple of years. The technology is becoming cheaper, better and more accessible, not only to professionals but also to the general public. An ever increasing number of applications is conceivable, and as the technology is coming of age, the challenge is to transform these concepts into reality.
Prosperos focusses on the development of new biodegradable alloys, based on magnesium (Mg) and zinc (Zn), suitable for 3D printing. These alloys provide the initial strength a traditional metallic implant offers, while simultaneously stimulating tissue growth and being resorbed by the body over time, allowing the body’s own material to replace them. While definitely future technology, these materials represent the next generation in personalized implants.