Innovative medical device contractor, ITL Group, has partnered with King’s College London (KCL) to develop a ground-breaking cancer imaging project using 3D printing.
The project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme, brings together a consortium of 20 companies, including technology giants Phillips and Siemens, to take developments in engineering and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and use them to provide a non-invasive way to diagnose and measure cancer tumours.
ITL Group joined the consortium in 2015 as a medical device design, development and manufacturing partner. It will further develop KCL’s initial hardware design and manufacture several prototypes, which will be presented to Harvard Medical School this summer.
The hardware is an advanced vibration transducer which functions by measuring interstitial fluid pressure and cell traction forces.
Dan Hollands, ITL mechanical engineer explained that for the project, ITL has been trialling a state-of-the-art 3D printer to open up the possibilities of development and experimentation.
As the transducer will be used in a MRI scanner, it’s necessary that all components are plastic, therefore it lends itself to the 3D printing process.
Mr Hollands said: “We’ve had a lot of freedom to develop the product and push the boundaries with experimentation - being both R&D and manufacturer means we can be more radical with design and test in-house before implementing changes.”
“3D printing has played a big part in the development – we’ve been able to design and print parts, then assess, test and redevelop all in a matter of weeks.”
He added that although MRI technology is well established, this application is ground-breaking and should open-up a host of possibilities for cancer diagnostics.