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Senior Research Engineer Lt. James Coburn explores current and future applications of medical 3D printing and outlines how FDA is studying the technology from the perspective of product reviews.

Norbert Sparrow

January 3, 2017

1 Min Read
FDA explains 'three Rs' of medical 3D printing in new video

Just before the holidays, FDA posted a short video, The 3Rs of 3D Printing, that explains how the agency is helping to further the technology while staying true to its mission of ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. In the three-minute video, Senior Research Engineer Lt. James Coburn takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of current and potential applications of the technology—from anatomic models that help surgeons prepare for complex procedures and patient-specific implants to the foreseeable future of 3D-printed hearts and kidneys—while highlighting FDA's role in these developments. 

“FDA researchers work with universities, industry and other collaborators to understand how the printing process affects the device, how the materials affect the device and how this can affect the review,” explains Coburn. The ultimate goal of this collaborative effort, he adds, is to ensure the “safety and effectiveness of a medical product that gets to the consumer.”

Coburn also briefly delves into bioprinting, “using cells and other biological materials instead of plastics and other materials,” and stresses that FDA has a bevy of resources available for manufacturers derived from FDA-sponsored research as well as standardization efforts conducted in concert with other global agencies and manufacturers.

To sum it all up, says Coburn, “this is what I like to call the three Rs of 3D printing: Regulation, research and resource.”

The video is embedded below.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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