May 2016 www.3ders.org
Australian researchers can already be found at the forefront of 3D bioprinting innovation, but the Australian government is about to give them another huge boost. They have just announced the establishment of the ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing, a collaborative 3D bioprinting initiative that will cost $3.7 million and will involve various Australian universities, companies and clinicians. It’s goal? To develop new 3D bioprinting innovations and apply them in clinical environments.
This announcement is quite remarkable, as Australia is already pushing the 3D bioprinting envelope and has realised several remarkable breakthroughs over the past few years. Just last February, one Australian patient received a 3D printed vertebrae to combat chordoma cancer. Just a few weeks ago, Wollongong professor and biomedical expert Gordon Wallace published a paper showcasing a potential 3D bioprinted solution for Alzheimer’s disease. That same professor also teaches an online 3D bioprinting beginners course.
As Simon Birmingham, the Australian Minister for Education and Training, announced, the University of Wollongong will now be teaming up with researchers from the Queensland University of Technology, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne. Also involved in this new 3D bioprinting centre are surgeons from St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who will push for the introduction of the technology in clinical environments.
This new centre will also partner with industrial developer Osteopore, who are known for developing resorbable 3D printed polymer implants that can be used to treat bone defects. 3D printed surgical implant and surgical planning tool pioneer Anatomics and 3D printed cochlear implant developer Cochlear will also be involved in the ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing. The center will also house three research fellows and 12 PhD students.
As Birmingham revealed, the ARC Training Centre is part of the government’s Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme. Through $3.7 million AUD in funding the centre will push for the development of 3D printed medical implants and will bring personalised 3D bioprinted medical treatments closer to patients. The government hopes that this step will position Australia as a world leader in 3D bioprinting. And according to Professor Wallace, it’s a necessary step. Despite fantastic advances in the technology’s capacity, he argued, there is still a debilitating gap in the amount of available hardware, materials and skilled personnel. “It’s important that research centers and industry combine to meet these needs. We at ACES are excited to be able to provide our state-of-the-art 3D printing facilities and highly skilled personnel to this venture. We look forward to working with our colleagues at QUT and other research training organisations,” Professor Wallace said.