A new research project in Australia will see the use of three-dimensional (3D) implants and robotic surgery for the treatment of tumours and bone cancer to potentially improve healthcare and patient outcomes.
The five-year ‘Just-in-time implants’ project involves collaboration between the Australian Government, RMIT University in Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and medical technology firm Stryker.
While Stryker is partially funding the more than $12.1m research project, the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) is providing $2.36m.
To be led by RMIT professor Milan Brandt, the research team will use 3D implants and robotic surgery in combination with advanced manufacturing to generate customised implants for bone cancer patients.
Brandt said: “Our aim is to bring the technology to the theatre.
“While patients are having their cancer removed in the operating theatre, in the next room, we are custom printing an implant to precisely fill the space left after removal of the diseased bone.”
Intended to expand the surgical options and enhance the potential for limb-saving surgery, the new approach is expected to enable removal of cancer and bone repair in a single procedure.
UTS Centre for Business and Social Innovation director professor Emmanuel Josserand said: “Not only will there be direct business opportunities for Australian companies to become medical suppliers, but there will also be an opportunity for the technologies and manufacturing know-how developed within this project to transfer over time to other local industries.
“These sorts of advanced manufacturing capabilities will ensure competitive advantage for Australian businesses, domestically and internationally.”