Use of bioabsorbable polymers as a medical device is moving to what I think is an amazing new level. Abbott vascular announced successful initial tests of a full bioabsorbable stent used to prop open diseased coronary arteries. The device is called ABSORB because it is completely absorbed back into the body after it restores blood flow, and the blood vessel heals. Six month results for the first 30 patients in the Abbott trial showed similar rates of success as metal stents. The new stent is made of polylactic acid, which is widely used in dissolvable sutures and anchor screws. Engineers in Japan are also rapidly developing mechanical applications for PLA.
Two new technologies from Stratasys, created in partnership with Boeing, Ford, and Siemens, will bring accurate, repeatable manufacturing of very large thermoplastic end products, and much bigger composite parts, onto the factory floor for industries including automotive and aerospace.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
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