An inspired and inspiring application of 3D printing in the development of a medical device that will potentially directly affect the lives of women in the developing world is the CryoPop. This is a medical instrument designed collaboratively by Momo Scientific, a group of three graduate biomedical engineers from Johns Hopkins University and Jhpiego, a leading NGO in women’s health. The instrument was conceived to combat the burden and deaths of more than 250,000 women resulting from cervical cancer in under-developed parts of the world.
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, but while regular screening for women in the developed world has seen death from this disease all but eliminated, this is not the case in the developing world where inadequate healthcare infrastructure, high costs and the lack of appropriate technology for treatment in remote locations mean that hundreds of thousands of women are dying from the disease each year. The CryoPop (patent-pending) aims to offer a solution to overcome this problem. It has been designed as a low-cost, sustainable, portable medical device that uses dry ice to treat pre-cancerous lesions in the cervix efficiently and effectively.
Momo Scientific comprises Shuja Dawood, Marton Varady and John Sidhom — all of whom are passionately committed to eradicating a preventable disease from killing so many women that are central to their families’ lives. When it comes down to it — is there anything more fundamental than preventing the needless deaths of mothers?
The original design concepts for the CryoPop took shape in the Bioengineering Lab at Johns Hopkins, which houses 3D printers. In terms of iterations, 3D printing is fantastic for development of prototypes and improving the design. The CryoPop is due to undergo animal trials imminently.
According to Marton Varady, when asked if he’ll continue to use 3D printing for trials ahead of full production, he brought up some concerns stating that he was “not sure if the structural integrity from 3D printed parts is proven enough yet for human trials. I need to conduct more tests to verify this before we decide on final production processes. I am also not sure what the FDA thinks about 3D printing.” As Sarah points out: “that’s an interesting question, that demonstrates while 3D printing is often the technical solution of choice for prototyping, we are still learning how to bring this exciting new technology into the mainstream of manufacturing, at least for medical devices. At the moment some of the best solutions I’ve seen integrate 3D printing with other manufacturing processes, such as laser or CNC machining.”
Momo Scientific intends to distribute the CryoPop across India and Sub-Saharan Africa once trials are complete.
Original Source and Image Credit: Potomac Photonics