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by A. Fäh

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Quick Tech News

QuickTechnics

by Alexander Fäh

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Innovative 3D Printing Technology Revolutionizes Medicine


 
  • Nano Dimension develops a micro-3D-printed medical device to record neuronal activity.

  • The technology enables precise and rapid manufacturing, surpassing traditional methods.

  • The research highlights the importance of 3D printing in biomedical research and the development of novel medical devices.

 

3D Printing Enables Precise Medical Devices for Neuronal Activity Research

Microscale 3D-printed components for the medical device. Photo via Nano Dimension.
Microscale 3D-printed components for the medical device. Photo via Nano Dimension.

Israeli electronics 3D printer manufacturer Nano Dimension has developed a micro-3D-printed medical device to record the neuronal activity of mice for a new biomedical research project. This technology opens new pathways in medical research, demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to surpass traditional manufacturing methods.


Nano Dimension partnered with leading research centers in Canada and France to study neuronal circuits and mechanisms related to the processing of somatosensory information. Somatosensory refers to the ability to perceive touch, temperature, pain, and body position.


The company leveraged its Fabrica Micro 3D printer to meet the precision requirements of the 2.7 mm-wide medical device, which includes 110 micrometer (μm) sized holes for electrodes. Using traditional manufacturing methods, producing the device would have taken several months. However, thanks to 3D printing, the device was completed in just one week.


Louison Brochoire, a PhD student at Bordeaux University, emphasized the importance of Nano Dimension’s micro-3D printing technology’s high precision and resolution. He stated, "The high precision and resolution of Nano Dimension's micro-3D printing technology, coupled with the use of biocompatible materials, empowered us to create a new tool essential for achieving our primary objective."


The project highlights the key role of additive manufacturing in advancing biomedical research and developing novel medical devices. Microscale 3D-printed components pose significant challenges due to their small size, dimensional requirements, and intricate features. For this project, the researchers required a miniature brace to securely hold two electrodes against a mouse’s vertebrae.


Few attempts have explored the electrical activity of spinal cord neurons in awake animals. This is challenging due to the movements of mice when walking or breathing and difficulties in accessing specific points on the vertebrae. Therefore, the team needed a brace that would allow the animal to move while firmly securing and stabilizing the electrodes in very small holes.


Nano Dimension used its Fabrica Micro 3D printing technology to successfully print the tiny brace according to the research team’s requirements. This technology can fabricate accurate and functional parts with tight tolerances, a pixel size of 4 micrometers, and layer heights between 1 and 10 micrometers. The biocompatible material used, Fabrica Medical M-810, is non-toxic to human cells, making it suitable for medical applications beyond animal research.


The project involved Professor Pascal Fossat from the Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives (IMN), Professor Yves De Koninck from Québec’s CERVO Research Center, Professor Benoit Gosselin from Québec’s Université Laval, and Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Juliette Viellard from the University of Bordeaux.

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