3D metal printer at College of Dental Medicine expands possibilities for innovation

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IMAGE: The component that Renne was able to print for the ZIAN team.
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Credit: MUSC

When the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina needed to bring to life a neurosurgeon’s idea for better instrumentation for sacroiliac surgery, there was one obvious partner to turn to: the MUSC College of Dental Medicine.

The college is the only dental program in the nation to have the Sisma Mysint100 3D selective laser fusion printer that creates 3D prints from metal rather than plastic, and Walter Renne, D.M.D., a professor in the Department of Oral Rehabilitation and assistant dean of innovation and digital dentistry, is eager to see what it can do.

“3D printing is how we get stuff from our imagination into reality. One of the issues in the past was most of what we could print was plastic, and plastic degrades. You need something to actually function,” he said. “Now, instead of imagining something and developing a plastic prototype that I can look at, I can imagine something and develop a real, usable final product that can be put into a drill or placed in a patient’s mouth. It’s really exciting to have that at the university.”

The manufacturer, Sisma, donated the printer about six months ago. Renne said Sisma wanted its latest device to find a home in a college that would think up creative and innovative uses for it. Those uses aren’t limited to dentistry, however.

The college and ZIAN have collaborated in the past, so it was natural for ZIAN to turn to Renne and colleagues for help with this project, which started with an idea from Stephen Kalhorn, M.D., a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery.

Kalhorn has worked several times before with ZIAN, a technology accelerator that exists to help MUSC’s medical providers to develop their ideas for new devices or device improvements.

“I run things by them because then I can spend the majority of my time in the operating room actively helping patients,” he said. “I can literally drop off a napkin sketch at a ZIAN engineer’s desk or even less than that. There’s even been times that I’ve just drawn on the dry-erase board in the OR and taken a picture and sent it to them, and they’re off to the races.”

This time, Kalhorn had an idea to improve sacroiliac joint fusion surgery. The sacroiliac joint is where the pelvis and spine meet; it is also a source of lower back pain. Fusion surgery encourages the two bones to grow together into one so there is no wiggle room between the two.

Bony fusion requires three elements, Kalhorn explained: stabilization, such as when a cast is placed on a broken limb; decortication, which is the removal of the top layer of tissue to ensure there’s no cartilage or fibrous material blocking the bone cells from building a bridge between the two bones; and compression, whereby the pressure encourages more bone growth. But nothing on the

Fourth Bioelectronic Medicine Summit Showcases Broad Innovation

MANHASSET, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Some of the most influential international experts, researchers, and scientific minds participated in the Fourth Bioelectronic Medicine Summit: Technology Targeting Molecular Mechanisms, hosted by The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research – the global scientific home of bioelectronic medicine – on September 23 and 24.

Bioelectronic medicine combines molecular medicine, neuroscience, and biomedical engineering to develop innovative therapies to treat a variety of diseases and conditions through targeted stimulation of nerves, including paralysis, arthritis, pulmonary hypertension, and inflammatory bowel disease. Due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), this year’s summit was held virtually and drew nearly 200 attendees, including esteemed academic leaders, members of the media, and industry professionals.

“Even though our recent focus has been on discovering a COVID-19 treatment, we continue to research, invest and lead in bioelectronic medicine,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. “It was an honor to bring together some of the most influential experts to explore, define, and propel this exciting field of science even further.”

Key highlights from the symposium include:

  • Gene Civillico, PhD, National Institutes of Health, discussed SPARC and the need to openly share data amongst the science community to promote innovation;
  • Chris Puleo, PhD, General Electric, described a non-invasive method of using ultrasound to modify neuromodulation;
  • David Chernoff, MD, SetPoint Medical, explained how research is going from the bench to the bedside in cutting-edge clinical trials to treat autoimmune diseases;
  • Kip Ludwig, PhD, University of Wisconsin, reviewed the steps needed to translate bioelectronic medicine to be used more effectively in humans;
  • Lawrence Steinman, MD, Stanford Medicine, delivered the keynote address discussing amyloid proteins and the neuroimmune regulatory pathway.

“It is exciting to hear, and see first-hand from the people leading progress in bioelectronic medicine,” said Valentin Pavlov, PhD, professor in the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine and co-chair of the summit. “It is important that collectively, researchers from around the globe continue to share their knowledge and help evolve this flourishing and promising field of science.”

Breakthroughs in engineering such as miniature electrodes, flexible sensors, methods of controlling and observing vagus nerve stimulation were among the presentation topics. In addition to video presentations, exhibitions, Q&A sessions, and networking opportunities, more than 23 research poster abstracts were displayed – giving attendees a glimpse into what’s on the horizon for bioelectronic medicine.

“We are at the forefront of a medical and technological revolution,” said Sangeeta Chavan, PhD, professor in the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine and co-chair of the summit. “These lectures, presentations and open-dialogue conversations strengthen our view that bioelectronic medicine will treat the world’s most complex disorders, potentially even better than pharmacologics.”

About the Feinstein Institutes

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral