3D Printing Suprise Success Helps More Than Wounded Dog

Sir Bobby Charlton, one of England and Manchester United’s greatest ever soccer players, can be proud of some amazing career achievements. Winning the World Cup with England in 1966, for example, or picking up the Ballon d’Or—an individual award given to the world’s best player—in the same year. In 2011, Charlton founded Find A Better Way, a charity that provides relief for landmine victims and seeks to minimize future landmine injuries in places that have experienced war. Understandably, a big part of the charity’s work involves funding and developing new technologies that can improve (or even prevent) amputations, which are often necessary for landmine victims. But as the charity recently realized, its work on amputations can be applied to animals too.

With the help of Find A Better Way, scientists and veterinarians from the University of Glasgow recently saved the leg of a two-year-old Munsterlander dog named Eva. The experts used a naturally occurring protein called BMP-2 to regenerate bone in the injured dog—a technique that could now be replicated, with the addition of 3D printed bone scaffolds, to treat human landmine victims.

Amazingly, Eva’s experimental treatment was successfu l, meaning the dog no longer needs an amputation.

“This is an exciting development,” commented Professor Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez, Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Glasgow University. “During research and development, the use of PEA and BMP-2 to grow new bone tissue has looked very promising, but I was not expecting the treatment to be used to help a patient for several more years.”

Eva’s broken front leg was not caused by a landmine, but by a much more common threat to dogs and other pets: a moving car. Despite receiving state-of-the-art care from the University of Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital following the accident, Eva’s leg refused to heal, leading vets to believe that amputation would be necessary.

Benedict. “Operation to save Dog’s Leg Shows 3D Printed Scaffolds Could Help Regrow Bone for Landmine Victims.” 3ders.org. N.p., 26 June 2017. Web. 30 June 2017.

Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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